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News » Jazz try to reverse history in Dallas

Jazz try to reverse history in Dallas

Jazz try to reverse history in Dallas
Dallas ? As much as he is enjoying spending four days in his hometown this week, Deron Williams had to stop for a second when questioned Tuesday about the Jazz's dismal history against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

"Have I won here?" Williams asked.

The short answer is yes, but only once, and even that victory came with an asterisk. The Jazz beat Dallas 104-89 on April 13, 2007, but the Mavericks opted to sit out Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier already having clinched the NBA's best record.

Both teams will be at full strength tonight for the biggest game of the Jazz's season so far. With a one-game lead over the eighth-place Mavericks, the Jazz not only will be looking to climb the Western Conference standings but also to stay out of its bottom playoff spot.

The Jazz have gone just 2-12 all-time at American Airlines Center, including 1-5 in the four seasons since Williams' arrival. Williams, who grew up in The Colony, Texas, did score a career-high 41 points in a 125-117 loss in Dallas on Dec. 8, 2007.

"I've had great games, but they've all been losses, so it doesn't mean anything," Williams said.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan didn't want to hear anything about it before practice Tuesday, but a victory also would distance his team from a first-round series against the top-seeded L.A. Lakers, who eliminated the Jazz in last year's conference semifinals.

"If you're going to go out there and look and pick and choose who you want to try to play, they'll prove to you it may not be who you wanted," Sloan said.

Both the Jazz and Mavericks will be looking to build off two of their strongest performances of the season Sunday. The Jazz led by 30 in the first half in pounding New Orleans 108-94 for their first road victory against a Western Conference contender.

"That's what we've basically been looking for, that kind of cohesiveness to give you a chance to win," Sloan said. "You don't get a chance when everybody goes out and everybody's got to score."

The Mavericks, meanwhile, rode an 81-point first half to a 140-116 victory over Phoenix. Jason Kidd was named Western Conference Player of the Week after totaling 19 points and 20 assists in the game.

"It shows that they're serious about trying to move up and secure a playoff spot," Williams said.

Win or lose, the Jazz own the tiebreaker over Dallas if both teams finish with identical records. The Jazz beat the Mavericks twice in Utah, ensuring no worse than a split of the season series, and have a 32-15 conference record to 25-22 for Dallas.

"We don't want to bank on that," Williams said. "We want to win this game. We want to win this one so we've got confidence going into the San Antonio game [Friday], do the impossible there."

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said with a week left in the season "there's a lot to be determined yet" and described the Jazz as a much different team with Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko back healthy.

"It makes their rebounding stronger," Carlisle said. "It makes them less of a jump-shooting team and more of an inside-out team. And Deron Williams is still as good as it gets at the point position." No happy homecoming

The Jazz have gone just 1-5 against the Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Center since Deron Williams' arrival, even though The Colony, Texas, product has had some of his best games in his hometown.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 8, 2009


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