Williams returns to Jazz, Boozer shines in win over Sixers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Utah Jazz played really well without star point guard Deron Williams, winning five of their first six games.

They're thrilled to have him back.

Williams played for the first time this season to lead the Utah Jazz past the Philadelphia 76ers 93-80 on Tuesday night. He had seven points and nine assists after missing the first six games because of a sprained left ankle he suffered in a preseason game Oct. 18 against Chicago.

Williams averaged a double-double last season -- 18.8 points and 10.5 assists -- and was part of the United States' gold medal-winning men's basketball team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"I didn't know what was going to happen," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "It was the first time he's played in six games. We thought he'd play five minutes or so but he played longer. It kind of depends on him how much he can play."

Williams played 31 minutes and shot 1-of-8 from the field.

"Every day, I've gotten a lot stronger," Williams said of being able to return.

Carlos Boozer led Utah with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer added 16 points apiece for the Jazz, who improved to 6-1 and lead the Northwest Division. Brewer scored all of his point in the fourth quarter after missing his first nine shots.

"At halftime, I was really down on myself," Brewer said. "My teammates told me to hang tough and keep my head up."

Andre Miller scored 25 points, Andre Iguodala had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Elton Brand added 13 for the reeling Sixers, who lost their third in a row and fell to 2-5.

"It's a disappointing start," Brand said. "We have to fight through it."

Samuel Dalembert and Thaddeus Young each added 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who shot just 38 percent from the field.

"We've just got to find ways to keep working hard and turn this around," Iguodala said.

The Jazz scored 13 of the first 15 points in the fourth quarter -- nine by Brewer -- to take a 76-69 lead. His 3-pointer with 4:11 remaining extended Utah's lead to 83-73 and sealed the win.

Philadelphia never got closer than five the rest of the way.

"I just think our offense is out of sync," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.

The Sixers trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter. Facing a 57-45 deficit, Philadelphia went on a 16-2 run to take a 61-59 advantage on a layup by Miller, who scored 10 points during that stretch. The Sixers led 67-63 at the end of the third.

Utah jumped out to a 49-37 lead at halftime thanks in large part to Boozer's 15 points and 10 rebounds as well as 11 Philadelphia turnovers.

The Jazz played without All-Star forward Mehmet Okur, who returned to his home country of Turkey on Monday because of an illness in the family. Okur is averaging 15.5 points per game, second on the Jazz.

Game notes
Jazz C Kosta Koufos made his first career start. Koufos, a 19-year-old rookie from Ohio State, was called on because Utah was without Okur, Kyrylo Fesenko, who traveled to Canada to resolve a visa issue, and Jarron Collins (right elbow). Former NBA C Dikembe Mutombo watched the game from the first row alongside agent David Falk. Brand had six blocked shots for the Sixers.