In his first career playoff appearance, Deron Williams led the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in nearly a decade. Williams helped revitalize Jazz basketball, making them the best team since the John Stockton and Karl Malone squads that will live on forever in NBA history.
In 2007, a young and inexperienced Jazz roster ran into a dynasty in the conference finals in the San Antonio Spurs. Led by the threesome of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker, the Spurs were making their tenth consecutive playoff appearance and had won three titles in that span, seeking a fourth.
While it was a tough challenge in front of him, Williams did not shy away, and in Game 3 he turned in a fantastic performance on the biggest stage of his career to date.
Williams filled the stat sheet with 31 points, eight assists and five steals, affecting the game in a variety of ways and doing everything he could to claim a win in the series.
This game turned into a rout in the second half, and the Jazz ran away with a 26-point victory, limiting a dynamic spurs’ offense to 83 points.
After falling behind early in this one, Williams and the Jazz responded the following three quarters to secure a decisive victory. Williams shot 4-5 from three-point range and found his way to the free throw line for seven more of his points.
As it turned out, this would be Williams’ only trip to the Western Conference Finals as a member of the Utah Jazz. They would be eliminated in five games by the Spurs, who went on to sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
But this game showed the excitement that Williams had brought back to Salt Lake City, proving once again that the Jazz were a force to be reckoned with out West.