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News » Erie end as AK fires odd 3-pointer

Erie end as AK fires odd 3-pointer

Erie end as AK fires odd 3-pointer Cleveland ? If they were going to end their Lake Erie losing streak, the Jazz couldn't have asked for a better opportunity Saturday night with Shaquille O'Neal a surprise inclusion on the inactive list and LeBron James a whisper through three quarters.

After trailing by 16 points in the second quarter, 13 in the third and eight in the fourth, the Jazz battled back to take their first lead with 1:56 remaining, setting the stage for a monumental victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of their four-game trip.

That opportunity, however, vanished almost as quickly as it appeared in a 107-103 loss, with Andrei Kirilenko launching and missing a 28-foot three-pointer off an inbounds play with 28.8 seconds left, with the Jazz trailing by two and time to spare.

"I thought it was a play that he should have taken the ball to the basket," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "because I'd just said in a timeout, 'They don't want to foul you.' You've got to at least try to come away with something.

"Those things happen and they happen too frequently sometimes and that's what costs you the game."

The Cavaliers closed out the victory even as James split two free throws with 9.9 seconds left, leaving the Jazz an opportunity to tie at 106-103. They went to Mehmet Okur, who was blanketed by Anderson Varejao and missed a three-pointer off the back rim.

It was Kirilenko's shot, however, that drew the most questioning in the arena nicknamed The Q. He inbounded along the sideline and got the ball in to Carlos Boozer, who fumbled the pass before getting the ball back to Kirilenko.

The way he spoke after the game, Kirilenko suggested that he was operating on autopilot with a play the Jazz regularly use in practice. The inbound passer gets back the ball and takes a quick -- and often wide open -- three-pointer. Kirilenko was left alone, but he took the shot from several feet beyond the three-point arc and with 22 seconds on the shot clock.

"I didn't really realize we don't need the three, but it's kind of our play," Kirilenko said. "On the practice, when we're playing, we always kind of get it set up. Again, probably I should have think a little bit better."

Kirilenko's shot doomed the Jazz to their sixth consecutive loss in Cleveland. They have not won at Quicken Loans Arena since Boozer's controversial decision to sign with the Jazz and spurn the Cavaliers in 2004.

Even as they headed home 2-2 from a trip in which they went 1-4 last season, the Jazz did so with a touch of disappointment. Boozer led with 25 points and 12 rebounds while rookie point guard Eric Maynor had 24 points and hit an array of impressive shots.

The Cavaliers went 39-2 at home last season, but were vulnerable Saturday. O'Neal was inactive with a strained shoulder. James had averaged 31.0 points against the Jazz in 12 career games but had six at halftime and 11 through three quarters.

With Deron Williams at home to be by his family's side during a health scare involving one of his daughters, the Jazz again started a pair of rookies in Maynor and Wesley Matthews and were left with only nine players in uniform.

They gave up 34 points in the opening 12 minutes -- "The first quarter, it looked like we didn't think we could win," Sloan said -- but came all the way back and led 101-100 after Maynor drove for a layup with 41.5 seconds left.

The Cavaliers answered predictably, by putting the ball in James' hands. He used a screen to shed Kirilenko and barreled down the lane for a layup as Boozer arrived late and reached in for a foul.

"You've got to go over and take the charge," Sloan said. "We reached in and fouled him. That's the thing that you've got to try to do is get your body over in front of the guy, and it's easier said than done.

"He does the same thing, I see, to other teams, but at least you've got to make the effort so you don't give him a three-point play."

James' three-point play pushed the Cavaliers in front for good 103-101. The league's reigning MVP finished with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds but went 6-for-15 overall and 0-for-3 on three-pointers.

"Sometimes you try to be there, but he's so quick to be that size," Boozer said. "He got there so fast, it was hard to get over there. But honestly, all night we did a good job on him. He made clutch plays at the end of the game to win the game for his team." Storylines

LeBron James' three-point play with 28.8 seconds left, followed by Andrei Kirilenko's three-point miss cost the Jazz .

Key moment ? Kirilenko launches a three-pointer with the Jazz trailing by just two and time to set up a play.

Key stat ? Eric Maynor had scored 27 points all year but erupts for 24 against the Cavs.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 16, 2009


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