Even though he put his odds of playing at 50-50 the night before, Deron Williams
returned to EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday and acknowledged the obvious: "I thought I was going to play the whole time."
Only three games into his return from a sprained left ankle, Williams opted to play in the second game of a backto- back set. He finished with 10 points and 13 assists, but was asked afterward if he made the right decision to play in hindsight.
"It was a little tougher today than it was yesterday," Williams said. "It's not making excuses. I think I could have done a little better job out there handling the ball- I threw a couple passes away - and we could have got out and ran a little bit more."
Williams matched up against Memphis' Mike Conley and Sacramento's Beno Udrih in his first two games back. The challenge was greater Saturday against New Jersey's Devin Harris, who scored 34 points.
"I knew it was going to be a tough night guarding Devin before I came into it," Williams said, "just because of how they play and how he plays. It's definitely tough for me to stay in front of him.
He's real herky-jerky with the basketball, and stepbacks, it's hard enough for me to stop and then I have to try to go back forward. It was a little tougher out there."
Williams played 30 minutes and totaled five assists in less than four minutes after returning in the second quarter. But he also had five turnovers, including one pass that landed in New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank's lap in the third quarter.
With Brevin Knight missing his third game with a sprained left index finger, the Jazz would have been down to one point guard in Ronnie Price had Williams not played. He will have to make similar decisions about playing in the Jazz's two sets of back-to-backs this week.
Matt Harpring (strained lower back) will undergo an MRI exam today. . . . Knight said he thought he would play Tuesday at Sacramento.
. . . Andrei Kirilenko officially is listed as day-to-day with right ankle inflammation. . . .
The Jazz reached the end of November with an 117 record after going 12-5 last season. . . . Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Mehmet Okur finished with 10 points and hit only 3 of 13 shots.