With Chris Paul out, Deron Williams got more minutes than any other Western Conference point guard in the All-Star game. The extra playing time may have helped keep Williams sharp for the surging Utah Jazz.
Williams and the Jazz look to win five straight road games for the first time in two years Wednesday night in a matchup with a New Orleans Hornets team that has struggled to overcome the loss of Paul.
Williams played 28 minutes off the bench in Sunday’s All-Star game, posting 14 points and six assists as the West lost 141-139. If Paul was healthy, Williams probably wouldn’t have gotten as much time.
Paul will likely be sidelined for at least another three weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. While New Orleans (28-25) is 3-4 without Paul, Utah (33-19) has been outstanding in recent weeks with Williams leading the offense.
Williams, selected one spot ahead of Paul with the third overall pick in the 2005 draft, had 17 points and 15 assists in his first game following the break, leading the Jazz to a 104-95 win over Houston on Tuesday night in the opener of a four-game trip.
Utah won for the 14th time in its last 16 games and now has a chance to win five in a row on the road for the first time since the 2007-08 season.