Earlier Wednesday the Jazz reportedly agreed to send Williams to the New Jersey Nets in a three-way deal in exchange for rookie forward Derrick Favors, along with point guard Devin Harris and two first-round draft picks. The Nets will also receive forwards Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric from the Golden State Warriors in the deal and send forward Troy Murphy to Oakland, while forwarding $3 million in cash to the Jazz.
Utah has hit the skids, dropping all three games under new head coach Ty Corbin. The Jazz have also uncharacteristically lost five in a row at home, their longest slide since the 1981-1982 season, after a 107-100 setback to Golden State last Wednesday.
Three Utah players eclipsed the 20-point plateau in that one: Al Jefferson (23), Paul Millsap (22) and C.J. Miles (20). Jefferson also grabbed 11 rebounds, while Williams, in what turned out to be his last game with the club, ended with 18 points, 11 assists and seven boards in defeat.
Raja Bell (calf), Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) and Ronnie Price (toe) all missed that game for Utah and Kirilenko has already been ruled out for tonight's contest. Bell and Price, however, will be game-time decisions for Utah, which has lost 13 of 17 overall and fallen to the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
The red-hot Mavs, meanwhile, have won 13 of 14 games since Jan. 22, the best record in the NBA over that period and entered the All-Star break after a 112-106 win in Phoenix last Thursday. Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks in that one with 35 points.
Jason Terry and Shawn Marion added 16 and 12 points, respectively, off the bench, while Tyson Chandler posted 12 points and as many rebounds for Dallas, which reached the 40-win mark at the break and is only the fourth team to achieve that feat entering All-Star weekend (San Antonio, Miami and Boston).
"We had to grind it out and they made a heckuva run there in the second half and kept making plays," Nowitzki said.
Dallas has won both meetings with Utah this season and has also taken 15 of 18 over the Jazz in Big D.