SALT LAKE CITY â€” The Jazz were all worried about rebounding Monday.
In the end, though, it didnt matter that Golden State won the battle of the boards by six â€” or that no one from Utah pulled down more than eight.
Thats because the Jazz bounced back just fine from a recent run of hiccups, beating the Warriors 108-95 at EnergySolutions Arena to shake a stretch with one loss to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat and two to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
We had some tough losses, swingman C.J. Miles said of a team that before Monday had won seven straight, then lost 3-of-5, including Saturdays visit to Dallas. I mean, youre gonna lose some games. There will be lapses.
I think its better to have them now, when were having those winning streaks â€” just because it knocks us back to where we need to be.
To reality, that is, understanding that performances like Miles, point guard Deron Williams and their supporting cast delivered Monday are as necessary as they are expected.
Miles scored 20 points off the bench Monday and Williams had a 30-point, 10-assist double-double as the Jazz â€” who also got 16 points from Paul Millsap, 13 points from Al Jefferson, 12 from Andrei Kirilenko and nine from second-round rookie Jeremy Evans â€” improved to 18-8.
Evans provided the fireworks with three eye-popping dunks in the first half and another in the fourth quarter.
But it was Williams who really stole the show, hitting the 30-point plateau for a third straight outing.
He just took the game over and put it in his hands, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Williams, who finished 8-for-16 from the field, including 4-for-8 from 3-point range, and 10-of-11 at the free-throw line. He made shots, made plays.
Williams scored 11 of his 30 and Miles 11 of his 20 in the fourth quarter alone, when Utah â€” down by three at the half â€” extended a four-point lead to as many as 17.
We did a little better defensively, it seemed like, in the second half, than what we did in the first half, Sloan said.
I thought they (the Warriors) did a nice job executing their offense and getting the shots they wanted to keep us from getting out in the open (court), he added. In the second half, we played a little better defense and got some easy baskets, and I thought we executed a bit better.
Millsap went strong inside with a Williams-fed layup to put the Jazz up for good at 66-64 with just under four minutes to go in the third quarter.
It was two spurts from Miles that gave the Jazz some separation, though â€” one early in the fourth quarter, and one late.
The first â€” a drive to the basket, one of his two 3-pointers and an Earl Watson-led fastbreak punctuated by a highlight-reel scoop move from Miles â€” put Utah up by nine, 79-70.
The second â€” a 20-foot fadeaway jump shot and a dunk â€” gave the Jazz their biggest lead, 103-86 with 2:29 left.
We were just active, Miles said. We tried to help, tried to get out to the 3-pointers they were making (the Warriors were 11-of-25 from behind the long-distance line). It allowed us to get more rebounds and run.
I was just trying to be aggressive, he added. It allowed us to get out and run, allowed me to see the seams and where to get to.
Moreover, it allows the Jazz to see where theyre going â€” and they like the look of where theyre headed.
After playing 10 of their last 12 games at home, a comfy quirk in the schedule, Utah now embarks on a four-game trip â€” starting Friday at New Orleans â€” feeling good about much from Williams on down.
We, the Jazz point said, just had to get back on the track.
They did that Monday, with each car doing its part.
Miles scoring was much-needed, as was Evans spark and the effort inside from both Millsap and Jefferson.
Jefferson and Millsap wound up with eight boards each, and Jefferson blocked a whopping six shots as well.
I know I have to do a better job on the defensive end, Jefferson said. Thats going to be the reason on how deep we go in the playoffs.
I just need to pick it up, he added, so why not start now?