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News » James leads Cavaliers to 107-103 win against Utah

James leads Cavaliers to 107-103 win against Utah

James leads Cavaliers to 107-103 win against Utah CLEVELAND ? If only they would have acted in the first quarter more like they did in the fourth, things might have been different. If only Carlos Boozer had tried to take a charge instead of committing a slapping foul, things might have been different. If only Andrei Kirilenko had driven instead of taking a trey try, things might have been very, very different.

Instead, it was same ol', same ol' Saturday night, when the Jazz ? minus starting point guard Deron Williams for a second straight game ? lost 107-103 to LeBron James and the Shaquille O'Neal-less Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. "This one's hard to swallow," ex-Cav Boozer said, "because we fought our way back and had a chance to win." Instead it marks the sixth straight loss in as many trips to Cleveland for the 4-6 Jazz , who ? with seven of their next eight at home, beginning Wednesday when Toronto visits EnergySolutions Arena ? return to Utah pondering what could have been. "I don't feel good that we lost this game," Jazz swingman Wesley Matthews said. "I feel it was very winnable." It was, if only a perfect storm of questionable decisions hadn't conspired to spoil Utah's final outing in a four-game Eastern road trip that started with a win at New York, included a loss at Boston and featured a victory Friday at Philadelphia in which rookies Matthews and Eric Maynor got their first NBA starts. With Williams back in Utah tending to an ill daughter who underwent hospital testing on Friday, both Maynor and Matthews started Saturday as well. Matthews finished with a season-high 24 points and Boozer had a 25-point, 12-rebound double-double, but that wasn't enough to overcome a disappointing opening and a much-more bungled close. The Jazz yielded a season-worst 34 first-quarter points to a Cavs club that was missing O'Neal because of a shoulder strain, leaving coaching Jerry Sloan shaking his head in frustration. "The first quarter it looked like we didn't think we could win," said Sloan, whose team trailed by 12 after 12 minutes and was down by as many as 16 points early in the second quarter. "We had an attitude about not thinking we can win. "But we finally started playing, started competing a little bit," he added. "They slacked off their game. But at least we got back in it." Yet because of what they did and didn't do then, Sloan's head was moving back and forth even more. The Jazz took their first lead at 97-96 on two Boozer free throws with just one minute and 56 seconds remaining, but the Cavs were up 103-101 after reigning NBA MVP James drove past Kirilenko and between Maynor and Boozer with 28.8 seconds left. James scored and hit the free throw that followed after Boozer managed only to slap his arm. "You've got to go over and take the charge. We reached in and fouled him ? and (the) thing you've got to try to do is get your body over in front of the guy," Sloan said. "It's easier said than done. He (James) does the same things, I've seen, to other teams. But at least you have to make the effort so you don't give him a three-point play." Said Boozer: "I wish we were all there. I mean, it happens so fast. Sometimes, you try to be there, but he's so quick... He got there so fast it was hard to get over there." The Jazz's response: a botched in-bounds play in which Kirilenko passed to Boozer, who shoveled the ball back to Kirilenko, who jacked up a failed 3-point attempt with 22 seconds still left on the shot clock. Boozer defended Kirilenko's shot. "He made his own decision," Boozer said. "It was a good shot with nobody on him." But Sloan certainly didn't think so. "It was a play that he (Kiirlenko) should have taken the ball to the basket, because I said in the timeout, 'They don't want to foul you.' You've got to at least try to come away with something," the Jazz coach said. "But, you know, evidently those things happen. They happen too frequently sometimes ? and that's what costs you the game." Even Kirilenko offered a plea of no-contest. "In the huddle we kind of set up the play. I didn't really realize, you know, we don't need a 3," he said. "But it's kind of our play. In practice, when playing, we always kind of get that set up. But probably I should have thinked a little bit better." Another 3-point try by Jazz center Mehmet Okur that would have tied the game 106 with 5.9 seconds to go missed the mark as well, and the 7-3 Cavs sealed it with 5-for-7 free-throw shooting by James over the final 28.8 seconds. "It is tough," Kirilenko said, "but I think when we got that lead at the end of the game by one point we kind of lost our focus for like a half-second." Or more. e-mail:

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Added: November 16, 2009


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