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Jazz notes: Mo Williams providing a spark

Published December 8, 2012 4:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin loves the way veteran point guard Mo Williams is playing.

Why not?

In the past five games, Williams has averaged 13.8 points, 8.4 assists and has made 25 of 51 shots. As Utah's primary quarterback, he's turned the ball over only 19 times in 161 minutes.

"I love it," Corbin said. "He seems to be getting more comfortable with who we are and who he is in the system and how to direct the team on the floor — where to get the ball and where he can get his shots."

In Friday night's 131-99 victory over Toronto, Williams played one of his best games, despite battling gastric distress.

He finished with 11 points and 10 assists. He was 4 for 7 from the field.

"You just have to keep plugging at it, with my style of play," Williams said. "My teammates [are getting] more inclined with what I like to do, what I expect from them, where I need them to be and the spots where I'm thinking they'll be."

Williams felt better at practice on Saturday morning. He plans to play Sunday night against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

"The good thing is I only had to play 24 minutes" against Toronto, he said. "So that helped a lot."

For Williams, returning to L.A. is a homecoming. He spent the last 11/2 seasons with the Clippers before being acquired by Utah.

"It's always fun to play there, even going back to before I played in L.A," Williams said. "The crowd is always good. You're going to get some Hollywood. ... I always enjoy it."

Lakers' lull

The Lakers have been Team Turmoil this season.

They own a 9-11 record, including an uncharacteristic 7-5 at Staples Center. They are third in the Pacific Division behind the Clippers and Golden State.

"They have a lot of talent on their team," Corbin said. "They've been through some changes ... but they are a veteran group and you have to [think], at some point, they're going to get it figured out. The talent will eventually take over."

One bright spot?

Veteran Kobe Bryant became the fifth player in history to score 30,000 points in a 103-87 win at New Orleans on Wednesday.

Bryant, 34, joined an elite club that also boasts Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

"Tremendous accomplishment, man," Corbin said. "Thirty-thousand points and still going at his [young] age. ... He has a lot more left in him."

Road challenge

The Jazz are only 3-9 on the road, with wins over struggling Toronto, Washington and New Orleans.

Asked if Utah needed a statement road win over a team like the Lakers, Corbin nodded and said, "We need road wins against anybody. ...

"We need to get better on the road and we need to be more consistent on the road, especially now. We need to get it figured out."

Missing centers

Big men Al Jefferson (back spasms) and Derrick Favors (plantar fasciitis) practiced Saturday but are listed as game-time decisions against the Lakers.

Without Jefferson and/or Favors, the Jazz might have a difficult time matching up with L.A.'s Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill.

Corbin knows the importance of Jefferson and Favors to the Jazz's chances against L.A. but said, "We want to make sure we do right by both guys and not put them out there and jeopardize them."