Post-mortem: Cavs 107, Jazz 103
The jury remains out on the Shaquille O'Neal trade, but tonight was a perfect example of why the Cavs traded for him. O'Neal sat out the game with a shoulder strain and that left the Utah Jazz's guards free to do some damange. Chief among them: Eric Maynor, who replaced Deron Williams at the point tonight. Maynor scored 22 points tonight, some on jumpers but a lot of it driving to the lane. In total the Jazz scored 40 in the paint.
J.J. Hickson had another outstanding game tonight offensively, scoring 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. It seems that his off court time with LeBron James this summer is finally paying dividends. He's less hesitant going to the hoop and he was undeniably aggressive tonight against the Jazz. It's the second night in a row he posted career best numbers. Part of it, as James said after the game, is that teams are not worried about him now. James also accurately pointed out that will change. How he adjusts to it will matter most, but it's not premature to say that Hickson may indeed be blossoming.
At the half: Cavs 59, Jazz 54
The Jazz's two rookies are continuing to play well, something they started in their game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Guards Wesley Matthews and Eric Maynor have combined for 24 in the first half to help the Jazz overcome what was once a 16-point lead.
Game: Cavs (6-3) vs. Utah Jazz (4-5)
Broadcast: TV: FSOhio. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starting lineup: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Jazz: Ronnie Brewer (F); Carlos Boozer (F); Mehmet Okur (C); Wesley Matthews (G); Eric Maynor (G).
Injuries: Cavs: Leon Powe. Jazz: Matt Harpring, Deron Williams, C.J. Miles. Kyle Korver.
Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Eric Dalen, Pat Fraher.
Streaking: Cavs have won thred consecutive. Utah has won one.
What to watch:
The Jazz are without valued point guard Deron Williams as he deals with a personal problem related to his child's surgery. While Carlos Boozer will play, that means there is an opportunity for them to exploit that absence. His backup, Ronnie Price is out with a toe injury. Maynor has averaged 3.9 points in limited duty. Mo Williams has tossed in 53 points in his last two games, so he could have another nice scoring night.