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Williams lifts Jazz past Rockets 109-103

Created: 12/03/2013 12:05 AM WHEC.com

(AP) SALT LAKE CITY - Marvin Williams scored five points in the final two minutes, Gordon Hayward broke out of a shooting slump to score 29 points and the Utah Jazz earned their first back-to-back wins of the season with a 109-103 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

With Utah clinging to a 101-98 lead, Williams stole James Harden’s pass and raced down for a dunk with 2 minutes left. Williams then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 59 seconds to go to boost the lead to 108-100.

Rookie Trey Burke posted career highs of 21 points and six assists for Utah, which shot 54 percent and made 10 of 17 from beyond the arc.

Harden had 15 of his season-best 37 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Rockets close, but they couldn’t get enough defensive stops.

Dwight Howard had 15 points and Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi had 13 apiece as Houston lost for only the second time in its last 10 games. The Rockets have averaged 111 points on 51 percent shooting during the stretch.

Harden weaved through a trio of Jazz players and scored a crafty layup to tie the game at 86 with 8:07 to play. Alec Burks answered with a 3-pointer and the Jazz led the rest of the way.

Burke started the season on the injured list with a broken finger but has found his rhythm in the past few games. His hot play has coincided with Utah’s best stretch of the season as the Jazz have won three of four after dropping 14 of their first 15 games.

The Jazz put the ball in the rookie’s hands and let him make plays down the stretch. In the fourth quarter, Burke had seven points and six assists and marked a career-best in points for second straight game. But it was Williams, the lone veteran on the court, who made the biggest difference in the final minutes.

Hayward made 12 of 18 shots to regain his shooting confidence. His early hot streak sparked the Jazz to lead by as many as 14 points in the first half. Over the previous nine games, Hayward made just 36 of 123 attempts for 29 percent.

Harden took his turn in the scoring spotlight and the Rockets caught the Jazz in the second quarter but trailed 53-50 at halftime.

The Jazz shot 59 percent from 3-point range, while Houston hit 32 percent (9 of 28) from beyond the arc.

The two teams played here exactly one month ago when Chandler Parsons scored 24 points and the Rockets outscored the Jazz 64-37 in the second half to win 104-93. Parsons sat out this game with a sore back and the Rockets had only Harden and Aaron Brooks, who had 13 points, as playmakers in the fourth quarter.

Dwight Howard had 15 points and Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi each chipped in 13 points as Houston lost for only the second time in the last 10 games. The Rockets have averaged 111 points on 51 percent shooting during the 10 games.

After missing 3 1/2 games with a foot injury, Harden scored 31 at San Antonio and looked to be his old creative self against the Jazz. He had eight assists and made all 10 of his free-throw attempts.

Since Burke recovered sufficiently to play starter minutes, the Jazz have reached 100 points in three games for the first time all season. Before this run, Utah only had one contest in which they topped the century mark.

NOTES: Jeremy Lin missed his third game with a sprained and bruised right knee. . Houston was outscored 36-23 in the first quarter. . The Rockets had 54 points in the paint.