Williams, Jazz edge Cavs
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) – Deron Williams scored a career-high 33
points and had 12 assists as Utah overcame the Cleveland Cavaliers, 99-98.
“He was an All-Star tonight,” said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. “Deron Williams is
terrific. He’s been that way pretty much all year long.”
Mehmet Okur deposited 22 points and Andrei Kirilenko added 10 for Utah, which
has won six straight games.
Larry Hughes registered 33 and Dwight Gooden added 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds
for the Cavaliers, who had won three in a row coming in. LeBron James scored
23 and pulled down 10 boards, but shot just 9-of-25 from the field for
Cleveland, which lost to Utah for just the first time in five tries.
“(Gordan) Giricek did a great job on LeBron James,” said Williams. “He
stepped up to the challenge and got some key stops for us.”
After two free-throws by Hughes tied it at 89 with 3:34 left, Okur responded
with a couple free throws for the Jazz and triple with 2:31 that put the Jazz
up 94-89. The Jazz were up 97-89 when the Cavs made a final push
James made two free throws followed by a layup to pull Cleveland within 97-93.
Anderson Varejao added a layup to cut the margin to two.
After Williams’ jumper extended Utah’s lead to four, Aleksandar Pavlovic
drilled a trey to get the Cavs within 99-98 with 28 ticks remaining.
Williams then ran as much time of the shot clock as possible before missing a
floater. Paul Millsap seemed to have the rebound for Utah, but lost it and
Pavlovic was there to grab it on the run, but had to heave up a desperate shot
that missed at the buzzer.
Cleveland led 52-45 at the intermission and 72-68 heading into the final
Cleveland outrebounded Utah 49-37…Williams’ previous career high was 31
points on Jan. 17 at Detroit…Kirilenko’s three blocks gave him 1,002 for his
career…Okur’s five rebounds gave him 2,502 for his career.