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Deron Williams wanted the Jazz to play faster, and sought an end to Utah's season-long trend of slow, lazy starts.
Unleashing one of their smoothest and most efficient outings of the season, a recharged and refocused Jazz team outgunned the New York Knicks 131-125 Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena before a sellout crowd of 19,911.
Utah's offense was on beat from the opening tip and never lost step. A season-high seven Jazz (26-13) players hit double figures in scoring, while Utah also established a season high in points.
C.J. Miles and Williams led the Jazz with 24 points apiece, while Raja Bell added 18 points and knocked down four 3-pointers.
Bell acknowledged that Utah's pass-happy, quick-trigger offense was contagious. Rather than have two players try and score 60 points each to keep up with the Knicks, the Jazz went all in as a team and attempted to involve everyone who took the court.
"When you're making a great pass for someone or making a play defensively to help out a guy, people are grateful and they try to reciprocate," Bell said. "And that's how you kind of get the ball rolling."
The Jazz are 4-2 during their last six games and hold a tie with Oklahoma City for first place in the Northwest Division.
The victory marked a significant step forward for Utah, who earned its first win versus a team with a record bettern than .500 in more than a month.
Prior to a victory Wednesday against the much-improved Knicks, a Jazz squad with long-term playoff aspirations had gone just 10-8 in its last 18 games, and only downed one team with a winning record during the stretch.
That changed Wednesday. As did the overall feel and look of Utah's offense, which stopped overthinking and hesitating, and returned to playing complex but simple Jerry Sloan basketball that is primarily founded upon screens, passes and ball movement.
Williams credited the Jazz's fast-paced tempo with kickstarting his team, while Miles said that Utah rediscovered a major asset the squad had temporarily lost while enduring a mid-season swoon.
"We've said this all year: We have no problem scoring," said Miles, who was 10 of 16 from the field and knocked down 4 of his 9 3-point attempts. "We have plenty of people that can put the ball in the basket."
Utah mostly held Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire who ranks second in the NBA in average scoring (26.2) in check. But New York reserves Shawne Williams and Bill Walker torched a Jazz defense that was the team's lone weak line during an otherwise impressive performance. The little-known reserves bombed away at will, combining to record 48 points, shoot 16 of 23 from the field, and hit 10 of their 13 3-point attempts.
Williams singlehandedly kept New York alive during the third quarter, knocking down all five of his 3s. He finished with a game-high 25 to top the Knicks (22-16).
"Paul [Millsap] was guarding him, but Paul is automatically a help guy," Sloan said. "That's his first response. And I think he probably helped a little bit too much."
Despite the outburst, Utah ultimately outshot and outran a Knicks team that entered the game leading the NBA in average scoring (107.4). With New York playing the second game of a back-to-back, Utah pushed the tempo and spread the ball around as often as possible.
The Jazz shot 58.4 percent (45 of 77) from the field and 45.5 percent (10 of 22) beyond the arc. In addition, Utah dished out 31 assists on 45 made field goals, while everyone from Al Jefferson to Mehmet Okur were rewarded with easy, open looks.
"[They are] things we should've been doing all year, especially starting off the game," Millsap said. "We did that tonight. We did a great job of sharing the basketball. Everybody got involved. When we do that, we're going to have big games like that."
R In Short • The Jazz outgun the New York Knicks 131-125 Wednesday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Key stat • Utah sinks 45.5 percent (10 of 22) of its 3-point attempts, and dished out 31 assists on 45 made field goals.
Key moment • The Jazz use a 15-4 run midway through the second quarter to build a 51-40 lead.