Jazz 133, Rockets 110
Deron Williams says he plays better when he's angry.
After the Utah Jazz lost Friday night in Sacramento, Williams was steaming mad and took it out on the Houston Rockets.
``I felt a lot of motivation. I wasn't happy with the way I've been playing, so I wanted to come out and set the tone early,'' said Williams, who scored 20 of his 35 points in the first quarter in Utah's 133-110 victory over Houston on Saturday night.
``As soon as the last game was over, I was ready for this one. I could feel it coming on.''
Williams was 13 of 17 from the field, and had 13 assists and seven rebounds to help the Jazz set a season high for points.
Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap and Wes Matthews each added 18 points and the Jazz made a season-best 14 3-pointers.
Kevin Martin led Houston with 32 points, and Aaron Brooks had 19.
Martin could see Williams' determination from the start. In the opening minutes, he asked Williams, ``You are really feeling it tonight, huh?''
Williams replied, ``You know, I just had a bad game last night.''
``Great players in this league, that's what they do,'' Martin said. ``Have a bad game the night before and they come out looking aggressive in the next.''
Houston played without Shane Battier (flu-like symptoms) for the first time this season, and Trevor Ariza (hip) sat out his third straight game.
``They didn't have a guy who could stay in front of him. He just kept taking it to them,'' Boozer said of Williams, who was 4 for 4 from 3-point range as the Jazz finished 14 of 25.
Both teams played Friday night and arrived in Utah early Saturday. But Williams, who has battled nagging wrist and thigh injuries, was ready to go from the tip.
``I've been a little passive to start games and it kind of hurts me because it takes a while to get into a groove,'' Williams said.
Williams, averaging 14.3 points on 31.1 percent shooting over his prior four games, had a career-best 20 points in the first quarter and the Jazz took the lead for good. He also had six assists in the opening period as the Jazz shot 85 percent.
``Deron got hot in the beginning but he made sure to create opportunities for the rest of us in the second half. We were so wide open,'' Okur said.
Utah hasn't lost consecutive games since the first two games of the 2010. The Rockets, coming off a win in San Antonio on Friday night, are 2-7 in their last nine games.
NOTES: The Jazz are 8-1 when playing in their green throwback jerseys. ... The Jazz are 16-13 when Williams fails to reach 20 points. ... The Jazz have won four of their last five games against the Rockets.