Williams lifts Jazz past Rockets 109-103

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm •  Published: December 2, 2013
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gordon Hayward's pinpoint shooting got the Utah Jazz off to their best start of the season and Marvin Williams made the plays at the end for their most impressive victory of the season.

Williams scored five points in the final two minutes, Hayward broke out of a shooting slump to score 29 points and the Jazz earned their first back-to-back wins of the season with a 109-103 victory over the Rockets on Monday night.

"What a huge win for us," Williams said. "Houston has been playing really, really well. For them to come into our building and put up a big-time fight and then for us to come out on top is a great feeling."

With Utah clinging to a 101-98 lead, Williams stole James Harden's pass and raced down for a dunk with 2 minutes left.

"Thankfully I was able to take advantage of a miscommunication on their part. It was a huge break for us," Williams said.

Williams, who has been playing with a mask since breaking his nose last month, then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 59 seconds to go to boost the lead to 108-100.

"Gordon made a very, very unselfish play," Williams said. "I thought he was going to shoot it. He was really going and had been making plays all night for us. I'm glad I stayed there and stayed ready."

Rookie Trey Burke posted career highs of 21 points and six assists for Utah, which shot 54 percent and made 10 of 17 from beyond the arc. The Jazz were coming off a 112-104 win over the Suns on Saturday

Harden had 15 of his season-best 37 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Rockets close, but they couldn't get enough defensive stops.

"We just didn't defend. We go through mental lapses where we don't lock down on the defensive end. We gave up too many points to fight our way back," Harden said.

For a change, it was the Jazz making crucial plays at the end.

"We're learning from the other games and not making the same mistakes twice," Hayward said. "Don't get me wrong, we still have a lot of improvement as a basketball team and as individuals, but it's good to see we didn't let this one slip away like we did early in the year."

Dwight Howard had 15 points and Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi had 13 apiece as Houston lost for only the second time in its last 10 games. The Rockets have averaged 111 points on 51 percent shooting during the stretch.

Harden weaved through a trio of Jazz players and scored a crafty layup to tie the game at 86-all with 8:07 to play. Alec Burks answered with a 3-pointer and the Jazz led the rest of the way.