Back from injury, Williams has big night
Toronto • Tape held a pack of ice to the inside of Mo Williams' right thigh as he decompressed Monday following the Jazz's thrilling 140-133 triple-overtime victory over the Raptors.
How did it feel? Williams was asked. He looked up blankly.
The strained adductor, not the bonkers win.
"It's OK," he said.
In a team-high 50 minutes,Williams scored 17 points and tallied 14 assists, his most since Feb. 11, 2011, when he still played for the Cavaliers. It was his first game back after missing Saturday's win over Phoenix due to the groin injury that also forced him to miss two preseason games.
Following Monday's shootaround, Williams described the moment the injury occurred, while guarding Denver's Ty Lawson on Friday as, "like somebody took a pin and ... poked you."
"I don't like to miss games," Williams said, "so whatever I got to do to get back on the floor to help these guys. I can't help them from the bench."
However, the Jazz intended to be cautious with Williams. Coach Tyrone Corbin said he would closely monitor the point guard's minutes, and likely limit them.
Then things went crazy.
"I did a great job of cutting his minutes tonight," Corbin said, "by only playing him 50 minutes."
Williams was one of three players, along with Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors, to play every minute of the three overtimes (plus Al Jefferson, who officially only missed three seconds).
Kleiza strikes again
No one can quite explain it, but Linas Kleiza seems to save his best performances for games against the Jazz. After going scoreless in 12 minutes in his season debut against Philadelphia on Saturday, Kleiza scored 17 points in the second quarter Monday to put the Jazz on their heels.
He finished with 20 points before fouling out, and missed six of his final seven shots.
"When he plays us," Millsap said, "it seems like he has a chip on his shoulder or something."
Two of Kleiza's 10 25-plus point games have come against the Jazz, including a 41-point outburst on Jan. 17, 2008, while with Denver.
"You get in this league," Corbin said, "and if you look back, there's certain teams your guys feel good about playing against, for whatever reason. It's good for him but it's not good for us to see him be that aggressive."
In the second quarter, Kleiza played all 12 minutes, was 6-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 on 3-pointers, before being called for his sixth foul with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"Thankfully he fouled out of the game and we didn't have to deal with him no more," Millsap said.