Williams has 19 assists as Utah tops Warriors
SALT LAKE CITY – Finding themselves in the thick of a muddled Western Conference playoff race, the Utah Jazz did what they were supposed to do Wednesday night.
Utah delivered an emphatic 128-104 drubbing of the struggling Golden State Warriors to remain a half-game behind Dallas for the No. 2 seed in the West.
Carlos Boozer had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Kyle Korver added a season-high 21 points and Deron Williams had a season-best 19 assists for the Jazz, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Denver atop the Northwest Division.
Only two games separate the four teams – Dallas, Phoenix, Denver and Utah – chasing the Los Angeles Lakers for home court advantage in the conference playoffs.
The Jazz face the defending champion Lakers on Friday.
“Every game is a huge game for us,” said Boozer, who scored 15 points in the first quarter as the Jazz set a season high with 76 points by halftime. “We’re trying to continue to move us as long as we can.
“We’ve got to take care of us. We can’t really worry about everybody else.”
Corey Maggette scored 22 points and Anthony Morrow added 21 for Golden State, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.
“I think Utah is probably as good as anybody in the West that we have seen,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “They put the screws to us in the first quarter and just added to it. That’s what good teams are supposed to do.”
The Jazz led by as many as 31 points and shot 42 percent from 3-point range (8 for 19) as they improved to 31-8 at home.
Williams scored only eight points – just the seventh time this season the All-Star point guard failed to score in double figures – but the playmaker helped the Jazz finish with 37 assists on their 46 field goals.
“I couldn’t throw it in the ocean tonight, so I decided to pass,” said Williams, who was two assists shy of his career best. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Paul Millsap scored 19 points and Mehmet Okur and Wesley Matthews each added 18 points for Utah.
The Warriors made just 4 of 26 from 3-point range (15 percent) and shot 36 percent from the field.
Now, Utah turns its sights on the conference’s top team.
“It’s going to be a good test to see where we’re at winding down at the end of the season,” Matthews said. “We’ve got to keep it going.”
NOTES: Golden State used its 45th different starting lineup and dressed just eight players. … Utah has now won at least 50 games in three of the past four seasons. … Golden State fell to 15-60 all-time on the road against the Jazz. The Warriors have lost six games this season by 20 or more points.
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