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The boos that failed to derail Carlos Boozer and the Chicago Bulls apparently worked against Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets.

In the latest episode of a former Jazz All-Star's homecoming, Williams responded to the anti-welcoming committee with a horrible shooting performance in the Jazz's 107-94 victory Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

D-Will deserved better treatment.

Some cheers were mixed with the boos during the introductions, but not enough of them. I never like to criticize fans who pay a lot of money to get in the building. Yet I'm not sure those who were doing the booing thought it through, either.

If they were punishing Williams for forcing out former coach Jerry Sloan, by extension they were booing Tyrone Corbin, Sloan's replacement.

If they were making Williams suffer for being traded before he could depart as a free agent, they in turn were booing Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, who would not otherwise be here.

In his six seasons in Utah, Williams lifted this franchise and made it relevant again. For all the improvement the Jazz have shown this month, it will be a long time until they appear in the Western Conference finals. It'll be a while before they win a playoff game, period.

The 2007 playoff run that featured a Game 7 victory in Houston remains the Jazz's high point of the past decade and of the foreseeable future. Williams gave the Jazz and this community his best effort, always trying to win basketball games and making an impact off the court with his Point of Hope Foundation.

His reward, upon return? Derision, every time he touched the ball — which is a lot, as a point guard — although the boos were not as sustained or intense as those Boozer heard in February.

"That's how people want to react. I can't control it," Williams said good-naturedly. "It didn't bother me. I wish I would have played better."

Longtime teammate C.J. Miles of the Jazz said, "I saw the things he did for the team, but everybody's got their own perspective of what happened."

Having witnessed the returns of Boozer and Williams in the past 11 months, I'll always wonder what would have happened if Karl Malone had ever dressed for the Los Angeles Lakers in Salt Lake City.

Somehow, Williams' 3-for-15 shooting struggles seemed to drag down the players the Jazz acquired in the trade for him, although nobody noticed, as the Jazz were winning easily for the first time this season.

So the irony of Saturday's return engagement was that the player involved in the worst trade in Jazz history was the best performer among all the ex-Jazzmen and ex-Nets on the floor. Kris Humphries posted 18 points and 10 rebounds, slightly exceeding his season averages and certainly doing more than the Jazz ever imagined when they traded their former lottery pick (to Toronto) for center Rafael Araujo.

New Jersey's five former Jazzmen (Williams, Humphries, Mehmet Okur, DeShawn Stevenson and Sundiata Gaines, who played 1,000-plus combined games in Utah) teamed for 54 points. They topped the 25 points that Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer produced in Chicago's victory in February.

That turned out to be Sloan's final game; he resigned the next day in a move apparently triggered by an argument with Williams, who would be traded two weeks later.

Compared with that upheaval, the return of D-Will was uneventful. In any case, this booing opportunity will have to satisfy everybody until next season, because this was New Jersey's only appearance and Chicago's not coming to town this year.

Twitter: @tribkurt