for this game

Williams' game-winner for Jazz overcomes James' heroics

Nov 8, 2007 - 7:48 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- LeBron James tried to win the game by himself for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz were in his way.

Williams dropped in the game-winning layup with 1.3 seconds left, erasing a dramatic game-tying 3-pointer by James just seconds earlier, as the Jazz held on for a wild 103-101 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Carlos Boozer collected 23 points and 12 boards - his fifth straight double-double to start the season - for Utah, which let James run wild throughout the contest but relied on its own superstar duo down the stretch.

James notched his first triple-double of the season, collecting 32 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists for Cleveland, which is in the midst of a six-game West Coast road trip.

Trailing, 99-94, James took matters into his own hands, powering in a layup plus a foul shot to cut Cleveland 's deficit to three points.

The superstar forward missed the ensuing free throw, but Zydrunas Ilgauskas grabbed the offensive rebound, setting up another layup by James after a timeout to make it 99-98 with 11.5 seconds left.

Utah's Ronnie Brewer then made two free throws, but James drained a 25-foot 3-pointer with a hand in his face to tie the game.

"They answered us every time we hit a big shot," Williams said. "We knew LeBron was capable of doing that - taking over a ballgame, which he did. It's good to win a close one."

But with no time to spare, Williams raced up the court - leaving Cavaliers swingman Devin Brown in his wake - and nailed the clinching layup.

"We've had the motto to just push it (and) don't give the defense a chance to set up," Williams said. "We said that we can exploit that. Booz took it out, got it out quick. I just raced it up court, was able to get a step on Ilgauskas on the inside, and made the shot."

"Great move," James said. "We expected him to call timeout. But I should have known."

Brown's half-court heave as time expired was well long.

"We just get it and go. We find that it works for us," Williams said of the game-winning play. "They don't get a chance to set up on defense, and I think they thought we were gonna call a timeout. They're looking back to see what we're doing, and while they're doing that, we're racing up the court."

The Jazz had trouble opening a wide lead throughout, but the Cavaliers never got over the hump, perhaps because James was carrying too much of the load.

With time winding down in the fourth, James found a wide-open Ilgauskas under the basket for a soft dunk, which brought the Cavs to within two.

But Utah immediately answered, as Williams found Brewer for a 3-pointer to give the Jazz a 91-86 cushion. Damon Jones answered with a shot from the arc on the other end, but the Jazz once again responded.

"Giving those guys credit, giving the Jazz credit, we also have to look a little bit at ourselves," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "It's a two-point ballgame, we could have done a little bit better from the free-throw line.

"More importantly than the free-throw line, the turnover situation. The turnovers were probably our biggest killer - besides (Paul) Millsap."

Millsap scored three points on one possession - a free throw and a layup - courtesy of a key offensive rebound.

Embattled Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko had the unenviable task of guarding James from the opening tip, but that assignment led to early foul trouble.

However, the Jazz had more than enough insurance for Kirilenko, mostly in the form of Millsap.

The second-year Jazz forward out of Louisiana Tech, Millsap had a monster second period, scoring 15 of his career-high 24 points. The versatile 6-8 big man exploited the soft interior of the Cavaliers' defense, repeatedly overpowering Drew Gooden, Ilgauskas and even James.

Midway through the quarter, after Daniel Gibson's 3-pointer pulled the Cavaliers to within four, Millsap burst through the lane on the other end and tapped in a soft pass from Kirilenko off the glass and drew a foul, completing a three-point play.

"He just went after the ball," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He was relentless. They had some mismatches inside, where he got to post up, and that's what you like to see a guy gets the ball when he should have it."

At the 3:25 mark, he did it again. After Williams missed an 18-footer from the wing, Millsap snagged the rebound and drew contact as he laid it in for yet another three-point play.

He got it done on the other end as well. In fact, the case could be made that it was the defense of Millsap and Brewer that really made the difference as the Jazz got out to a comfortable lead.

Brewer, the team's starting two-guard after playing only sporadically in his first year as a pro, picked up five steals in the first half - four in the opening quarter - and Millsap added four swipes of his own.

"The difference in the ballgame was Utah's two young fellas. I thought Millsap and Brewer had a whale of a ballgame," Brown said. "Paul Millsap, I can't say enough about him. He just came to work tonight. Without him on the floor, maybe we would have had more of a chance."

The sophomore duo's nine combined first-half steals led to 13 points for the Jazz, who took the lead on the first possession of the game and fell behind only once.

Ilgauskas had 18 points and 14 rebounds and Sasha Pavlovic added 17 points for Cleveland.

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    Cavaliers vs. JazzOct 31 5:07 AM