SALT LAKE CITY -- They're both from the Dallas-area, and they both grew up rooting for their hometown Dallas Mavericks. But for Utah Jazz players Deron Williams and C.J. Miles, the experience of playing against the Mavericks is a bit different.
Before Friday's nationally-televised Jazz-Mavericks game at EnergySolutions Arena, Williams downplayed the thrill of guarding Jason Kidd, one of his boyhood heroes. Miles, on the other hand, said he still gets a few extra butterflies when he plays against Dallas.
"It hasn't been a big deal for a while, probably since the first time (as a rookie)," said Williams, who scored 12 points and dished seven assists in a losing effort as Dallas earned a 93-81 victory. "It's just another game."
The Jazz (15-6) and Mavericks (15-4) both went into the game riding a seven-game winning streak. The two clubs traded baskets until the fourth quarter when Dallas pulled away with a 17-point advantage.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 26 points and Kidd added 15 and seven assists.
Paul Millsap had 21 for the Jazz and Al Jefferson added 18.
Miles, who wore the words "Dallas" and "Texas" on the back of his shoes, scored nine points off the bench.
Early on in his career, Williams said as a teenager growing up in The Colony, a Dallas suburb, Kidd was his favorite player. Since then, it seems he has been asked about the matchup before every Dallas game.
Williams has grown tired of the questions about - although probably not the comparisons to - the Mavericks' star point guard.
"It's always great to play against him," Williams said. "He's somebody I grew up watching. I have fun playing against him. He's a great competitor. It just seems like he doesn't age."
As for Miles, who was raised in Dallas, playing the Mavericks is about bragging rights with his friends back home.
"It's always fun to play your (hometown) team," he said. "Everybody gets to see it. And it's like a national TV game, everybody gets to watch on ESPN."
Both Williams and Miles were drafted by the Jazz in 2005. Since then Williams has been bombarded with questions about the Mavericks, while Miles' connection with the team has rarely been explored.
Perhaps that's why he didn't mind talking about it after Friday morning's shoot-around.
"They weren't that good when I was young," Miles said. "I was a big (fan of former Maverick Michael Finely), that was when he was really at his best."
Not surprisingly, Williams idolized Kidd, a fellow point guard and Miles looked to Finley, a shooting guard.
Miles remembered fondly the days when current Maverick Nowitzki used to run the floor with former MVP Steve Nash, now with the Phoenix Suns.
"(The Mavericks had gotten) better, but around that time I was older and I was more into the game," he said. "I had favorite players more than a favorite team. That's all I watched was basketball. Then I got drafted and it was like, well, it's a cardinal sin (to root for another team)."
Miles said most of his family members now cheer for the Jazz, but he still has some friends who still razz him about playing against the Mavericks.
"I turn my phone off sometimes because it just rings through the whole night from people that watched the game," he said. "Whether you played bad or good people are just excited to see you play.
"It's a privilege. It's a blessing to be able to do this for a living and be able to make it from where we were, the guys I grew up with and the places that we lived in. It wasn't the worst, but it wasn't the best."
GAME 21 Mavericks 93, Jazz 81
* BEST PLAY: Earl Watson and Francisco Elson team up on a long ally-opp pass with 8:16 left in the second quarter. Watson lobs up near the rim and Elson goes up, gets the ball and throws it down for a thunderous dunk. It gives the Jazz a 28-27 lead.
* BEST LINE: Nowitzki scores 26 points, grabs six rebounds and blocks a shot for the Mavericks.
* KEY STAT: Dallas holds the Jazz to just 38 points in the second half.
* SIDELINE MOMENT: Kyrylo Fesenko gives the Jazz seven minutes of work in the first half, grabbing seven rebounds and scoring five points on 2-for-3 shooting. When he goes to the bench midway through the second quarter he receives an ovation from the crowd.
* MILESTONE: Williams becomes the fourth player in Jazz history to win the NBA's Western Conference Player of the Month award. He joins Karl Malone, Carlos Boozer and John Stockton. The Mailman won the award seven times; Boozer won it twice. Stockton only won it once, but previously there was just one award combining both the Eastern and Western Conferences.
* INJURY REPORT: Still no Mehmet Okur (Achilles' tendon) for the Jazz.
* ETC.: Going into Friday's game, the Jazz owned a record of 141-76 (dating back to the beginning of the 2007-08 season) when Andrei Kirilenko appears in a game. ... The Jazz led 43-39 at halftime. ... Williams had 11 points, three assists and three rebounds for Utah. Nowitzki had 11 points, three boards and a block for the Mavericks. ... Watson played the entire second quarter for the Jazz. ... The Mavericks outscored the Jazz 27-19 in the third quarter, holding Utah well below its third-quarter average of 26.5. ... Fesenko was whistled for a technical foul with 9:43 left in the fourth. ... Nowitzki scored eight points on 4-for-5 shooting in the third quarter.
* UP NEXT: The Jazz have three more home games next week. It starts with Memphis on Monday.