Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Jazz: Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur
Refs: Joey Crawford, Luis Grillo, Phil Robinson. Veteran staff and Joey just loves Mike Brown, he's hits him with technicals more than any other official.
--Devin Brown has a fractured left pinky finger but he will try to play. --Larry Hughes (knee) is out again. --No idea how the Cavs are going to cover Williams. I think Devin, if he can go, will play important minutes off the bench like last night on Baron Davis. He has good size like Williams, who is a stud. --Z had 56 rebounds over the last four games, the most in a four-game stretch in his career. But let's see how he does on a back-to-back after going 38 minutes last night. You know bouncing off Boozer all night will get old fast. --LeBron said his eye is still a little swollen and sore from last night but he'll be OK. --Brewer is one of the rising young players in the league, keep an eye on him. --I expect the Jazz to just totally swarm LeBron and force the ball away from him even more than normal. Kirilenko's length with bother him but he's much stronger so being aggressive is the order of the day. --Sasha is still getting his legs, he's 3-of-16 so far. Don't expect a major breakthrough tonight either, but he should be a little better.
Halftime -- Jazz 52, Cavs 48
--It is remarkable the Cavs are only down four points. They have 13 turnovers, may of which came from lazy or absent-minded plays, which has cost them 18 points. They have missed eight free throws. They are being killed by the Jazz's big men because they are shorthanded. --However, Sasha Pavlovic has come to play save for a few bad, bad turnovers. He's got 17 points on just 10 shots. He's running the floor very well and is responsible for most of the Cavs' 15 fastbreak points. --The Cavs couldn't figure out Boozer and Williams in pick-and-rolls in the first quarter. Then in the second, due to foul trouble and no depth at big man, Paul Millsap was abusing Devin Brown or whichever smaller guy the Cavs put on him, he scored 15 points in the quarter. --LeBron has been active and passed the ball well but he's not shooting well. He's just 3-of-9 and 4-of-10 from the line. Still, it looks like his first triple-double is coming because he's got 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He needs to score 15-20 points in the second half for the Cavs to have a chance. --Good news for the Cavs is that they are in the game, bad news is Williams, Kirilenko and Okur all played poorly in the first half. Williams and Okur are a combined 2-of-12 and Kirilenko got in foul trouble early guarding LeBron and has just two points. Williams also has six turnovers. --Z had seven rebounds and six points in the first quarter and nothing in the second. He may be just tired. --Brewer had five steals in the first half, mostly just cherrypicking when the Cavs weren't paying attention. Taking care of the ball will be important in the second half. --It will be interesting to see what Mike Brown does to solve the problems with the Jazz's bigs. He tried going to zone a few times, but the Cavs are not good at zone and they give up lots off offensive rebounds out of it. He just simply doesn't want to even try Cedric Simmons, I guess.
Postgame -- Jazz 103, Cavs 101
Stars: LeBron James (duh) 32 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists, three steals, two blocks. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 18 points, 14 rebounds...he's playing like an All-Star. Carlos Boozer, 23 points, 12 boards...yep, that's what Booz does. Paul Millsap, career-high 24 points...a second round pick, folks. Deron Williams, was just 4-of-12 shooting but the last one was a biggie, eh?
--First, WOW, what a great game. Not all that well played by either team, but it was tight the whole way and there were some great performances. --Next, WOWEE, what a shot LeBron hit with 6.8 seconds left. Ronnie Brewer had his fingers in his nose and he made it. Just a big time, big time play. --Then, WOWEE WOW, what a great move by Deron Williams. Having the mind to make the move and then pulling it off...so impressive. This guy may be a Hall of Famer. There may have been two Hall of Famers who made plays in the last seven seconds. Remember this one, folks. --Historically, Jerry Sloan does not call a timeout in that spot and Williams knew that. But with three timeouts and seven seconds, Sloan did try to call one. I will have to see extended replays, but it appeared Devin Brown tried to stay with him but he didn't want to foul. Obviously you have to stop the ball or at least redirect it in that spot. But at the same time the Cavs had a man on him and Ilgauskas was there to defend the rim but didn't. I honestly think it was just a big-time play. --As tired as the Cavs were, they probably get beat in overtime. Then again, they would've have the momentum. --Looking at the big picture for a moment, I know this is still the second week of the season, but this game had the feel of the loss in Dallas last March. The Cavs did not play great, they really struggled in some areas, and they didn't finish. But considering the circumstances it was a great effort while fighting Utah's depth on the road in the middle of a long trip on the second night of a back-to-back. --Afterward the Cavs locker room was sort of wired. They knew it was a near miss but they felt good about the fight. They didn't play with this sort of focus on the road last season until after the All-Star break. --Maybe it won't last, but I was talking with LeBron about the last week. Seven days ago after that loss to Dallas in the home opener it looked like the Cavs might start the season 0-8. But they have progressively played better every single game despite dealing with mounting injuries and this rough, rough schedule. LeBron said "I feel a lot better about where we are now than I did at this same time last year." --OK, all of that out of the way. 19 turnovers, 29 points off them. Lots of them were the mindless or unforced kind. Part of it was fatigue, part of it was just plain carelessness. Also, there's 10 missed free throws. Old story there. --The Cavs have a problem with their big men. They seem willing to live with it for the moment, but against super strong teams like Utah it will hurt being understaffed. Dwayne Jones got three fouls in five minutes and the next thing you know Devin Brown is guarding Millsap. 50 points in the paint. Issues. --The offense had some loose possessions in the fourth quarter, but they still scored 34 points. LeBron was almost perfect in his decision-making. They just couldn't get enough stops to win. --Daniel Gibson had 12 points on just five shots. Agree with Maureen from the comments section, he's got to get more plays called for him. --I actually think the game was decided in the three and a half minutes LeBron rested at the end of the third and start of the fourth. The Cavs lost seven points in that stretch and spent the rest of the game catching up. When Hughes comes back, having Pavlovic better prepared to be with that second unit may help. That and running a play or two for Boobie. --As is the case 95 percent of the time in the NBA, the officials did not decide this game.
Quotes: Mike Brown: "Give the Jazz credit, but we also have to look a little bit at ourselves. The turnovers were our biggest killer." LeBron: "We've gave our all tonight in a hostile enviornment. We gave ourselves a chance to win. I made a tough shot and Deron made one that was even tougher." Jerry Sloan: "We got the ball inbounds and Williams knew what to do with it."