Before the game clock started ticking downward Monday night, Jazz guard Deron Williams walked toward center court at EnergySolutions Arena to be officially recognized. Flanked by team president Randy Rigby and general manager Kevin O'Connor, a beaming Williams hoisted his Western Conference player of the month award for October and November toward the rafters. Then he proudly waved, briefly spoke to the crowd, and went to work.
Utah's All-Star guard continued his early-season burn against the Golden State Warriors, once again inspiring his teammates and guiding the Jazz to a 108-95 victory before a crowd of 19,176.
Williams poured in a game-high 30 points, sank four 3-pointers, dished out 10 assists and collected six rebounds. It was yet another highly efficient, at times unstoppable outing from the smooth but intense All-Star who continues to add to his legacy game by game.
"I'm scoring the ball well," said Williams, who is averaging 28.8 points during his last five contests and has recorded at least 30 in three consecutive games. "The games that we lost and I scored, it doesn't really matter I'd like to be winning a little bit more."
Williams took care of that by himself Monday.
Down 52-45 with 10 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Williams scored 11 points during the period to call a Utah (18-8) team that was initially lifeless to action.
The Jazz then used a 9-2 run that bridged the end of the third with the start of the fourth to finally contain the Warriors (8-16).
Another strong performance from reserve forward C.J. Miles (20 points) helped highlight five players who hit double figures in scoring for Utah, as the Jazz pulled to 3-3 in their last six games. Utah holds a half-game lead over Oklahoma City as the Jazz prepare for a four-game road trip that starts Friday in New Orleans.
A Utah team that has not seen much rest since the 2010-11 season started the Jazz have played 26 games, tied with Miami for the most in the NBA will enjoy a three-day stretch without opposing competition.
Utah coach Jerry Sloan said that Williams has often carried the Jazz through the challenging early-season run.
"He's been sensational, really," Sloan said. "He just took the game over and put it in his hands. â¦ I'd have to say this is as good as I have ever seen him play. He's playing terrific basketball."
Dorell Wright's 20 points topped the Warriors, who have lost 12 of their last 13 games and played without star guard Stephen Curry versus the Jazz.
"We did everything we could," Golden State guard Monta Ellis said.
The Warriors initially attacked Utah with a barrage of 3-pointers, employing the same weapon Dallas wielded Saturday during a victory.
Golden State connected on 45.5 percent (5 of 11) of its 3-point attempts during the first half, ending the second quarter on a 10-3 run and taking a 46-43 into the break.
Then Williams continued to add to what has already been a special season.
"He works hard and he deserves â¦ to have a season like this," Utah guard Ronnie Price said. "We hope he can keep it up, because all it's going to do is benefit us."