DALLAS (AP) Deron Williams' homecoming, taking place three seasons after many Dallas Mavericks fans hoped, keeps getting better.
''It's all going in the right direction for sure,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ''He is doing the work, and the dividends are showing.''
Williams recorded season highs with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds in 37 minutes, and tied a season with three steals as the Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 102-93 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points and Zaza Pachulia had his seventh double-double of the season as Dallas held on after its 20-point, second-half lead was trimmed to five in the closing minutes. The Mavericks led 92-87 when Williams hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game. He then grabbed a defensive rebound and assisted on a jumper by Nowitzki.
''We lost the first quarter, but we kept playing and battling,'' said Williams, 31, who played his first 5 1/2 NBA seasons with the Jazz. ''Our execution was great, especially down the stretch.''
Williams rejected a free-agent offer from the Mavericks in July 2012 to stay with the Brooklyn Nets. He signed with Dallas last summer after two injury-plagued seasons and was hampered during training camp and the preseason by multiple nagging injuries.
''I'm sure playing against your old team, there's some motivation on some level,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Nowitzki said Williams shows veteran savvy.
''He's been around, and he really just takes what the defense gives him and plays an all-around game,'' Nowitzki said.
Nowitzki was 8 of 12 from the field and made all three of his 3-point attempts.
Gordon Hayward scored 22 points, Derrick Favors 18, and Alec Burks added 15 off the bench for Utah.
The Mavericks used a 23-5 run in the second period to turn a seven-point deficit into a 46-35 lead with 2:33 to play before halftime. Dallas led 56-43 at halftime and extended its lead early in the third quarter by hitting eight of its first nine shots, moving ahead by 20 points four minutes into the period.
Pachulia had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Dallas is 6-1 in games in which he has collected a double-double.
''You work hard, you get rewarded,'' Pachulia said. ''Bottom line.''
With Dallas' lead cut to 86-79 with six minutes left, Favors was called for goaltending by referee Scott Foster on layup by J.J. Barea. Replays appeared to show Favors made contact with the ball before it struck the backboard.
''The referees called the call, and it is what it is,'' Favors said. Snyder said he didn't ask about the decision afterward because nothing could be done.
TIP OF THE HAT
The Mavericks recognized Donald Carter, who owned the team from its founding in 1980 to 1996. When Carter owned the team, he typically sat at courtside wearing a cowboy hat and boots.
Current team owner Mark Cuban called ''The Hat'' the most important person in franchise history.
''Without him, we're not here,'' Cuban said.
When Dallas won the NBA championship in 2011, Cuban insisted that Carter accept the trophy first.
''It was one of the best feelings ever,'' Cuban said.
Jazz: Utah is 4-5 on the road, having played only three home games. It will play 10 of its next 14 games in Salt Lake City. . The Jazz have lost on their last 10 visits to American Airlines Center.
Mavericks: Dallas' last six-game winning came from late December to early January last season. ... Carlisle said he hopes center JaVale McGee, who hasn't played this season while recovering from a left tibial stress fracture, will play before the end of December.
Jazz: Host Oklahoma City on Monday night.
Mavericks: Visit Oklahoma City on Sunday night