The Cavaliers faced their former teammate Saturday night and
reminded him of what he left behind when he signed with Utah,
beating the Jazz 84-71 after falling behind by 19.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 27 points, including 10 in
the final period as Cleveland outscored Utah 31-14.
"We made stops on defense and we started making shots," James
said. "One thing we didn't do in the first half was make shots."
Defensively, Cleveland held Boozer to just three points in the
second half after switching to a zone defense and shutting down the
inside. Although there was no obvious animosity toward Boozer,
Saturday's game had to sit well with fans back in Cleveland who
were angered when the budding forward took Utah's $68 million
It sparked a bitter feud with the Cleveland front office and
Boozer is guaranteed to hear plenty when the Jazz visit the Cavs in
"Everybody was out there having a good time. We just wish we
had come out to win," said Boozer, who finished with 12 points and
16 rebounds. "The biggest thing is that I just wanted to win the
game and it's tough for us to lose this one."
Utah never trailed through three quarters, then could do nothing
to stop James and Jeff McInnis, who scored 24 points and helped
James start a 13-0 run that put the game away. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
scored 11 and Anderson Varejao pulled down 14 rebounds for the
Cavs, who had just 11 turnovers and forced 19.
The Jazz didn't help themselves with 33 fouls, leading to 27
points off free throws by Cleveland. The Cavs went to the
free-throw line often enough that it didn't matter they were only
"We ended up committing enough fouls for two or three games and
they were basically soft fouls," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "If
you're going to commit soft fouls and play soft, you're going to
get more scared and put yourself in a tough situation."
Cleveland won in Utah two years in a row for the first time
since the Jazz moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. The Cavs won here a
year ago 106-96 in overtime even after James left in the final
seconds of regulation with a twisted ankle.
Boozer came through for the Cavs with 10 of his 32 points in the
OT and had 18 rebounds for Cleveland. He looked as if he was headed
for another big night Saturday against the Cavs until they clamped
down defensively in the second half.
"He really played well when we were man-to-man," Cavs coach
Paul Silas said. "When we zoned, they couldn't get the ball in to
him inside as much and I thought that helped us."
The Cavaliers were listless through most of the first three
quarters, but James finally got them going. He hit a jumper to cut
Utah's lead to 56-49, then found Varejao alone under the basket
with a no-look pass for an easy layup.
Robert Traylor added a short jumper and Utah's lead was down to
Cleveland tied it for the first time since the beginning of the
game on Varejao's layup, which could've been a three-point play,
but he missed the foul shot. The Cavs tied it twice more, then took
their first lead at 66-63 when Eric Snow scored on a layup and was
Giricek tied it right back up for Utah with a 3-pointer, but
James followed with a baseline jumper and McInnis hit a 3-pointer
and another jumper to start the 13-0 run that sealed it for
^Notes@: James' two free throws with 3:56 remaining in the third
quarter gave him 2,500 points for his career -- making him the
second-fastest player in NBA history to reach 2,500 points while
having 700 assists and 700 rebounds. James did it in 114 games,
second only to Oscar Robertson's 83. ... Utah guard Carlos Arroyo,
in Sloan's doghouse, did not play for the third straight game. ...
Sasha Pavlovic, Utah's 2003 first-round draft pick, had no shots,
rebounds, steals or assists in five minutes for Cleveland. He did
commit one foul. ... Sloan, Jazz rookie Kirk Snyder and Snow all
received technicals. Okur was called for a flagrant foul late in