It all started with a layup off a simple cut to the basket.
Then Marvin Williams went hard to the hoop. He was fouled and made a few free-throws. Beyond that, the basket got a little larger, the confidence a little bigger. By the time the first half of Utah’s 103-90 win over the Detroit Pistons ended, Williams was a new person.
“It’s really important to get those easy looks early,” Williams said.
He played perhaps his best all-around game since he began coming off the bench, scoring 14 points, grabbing six rebounds and handing out four assists. Heck, he even delighted the 18,568 at EnergySolutions Arena with a pair of steals.
This was the Marvin Williams the Jazz hoped they would get when they traded Devin Harris for him last summer, the Marvin Williams with a thick bag of talent that’s made those in the know salivate over his skill set dating all the way back to his freshman season at North Carolina.
On Monday night, Williams shot 5-for-8 from the field. He made two of his trio of 3-pointers taken. He climbed the offensive glass and played tough defense. He was engaged in each possession, cramming all of these statistics in a little more than 29 minutes of playing time.
“He was good for us tonight,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “He got in there and played with energy. He made some shots and he helped us a lot on both ends of the floor.”
As has been the norm of late, the Utah bench gave a huge lift, creating separation in the second quarter and finishing things off down the stretch.
Williams scored 11 of his points in the first half. Enes Kanter scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Jeremy Evans had eight points, seven rebounds, a career-high five assists and two blocked shots. Gordon Hayward scored 13 points.
The Utah bench outscored the Detroit starters 54-49.
“It all feels like it starts at practice because we work so hard going against the first group,” Evans said. “I think it’s great that we come out and bring energy and help those guys out.”
• Marvin Williams scores 11 of his 14 points in the first half off the bench
• The Utah bench scores 54 points
• The Jazz snap a four game losing streak