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His was unremarkable performance for three quarters. For nothing LeBron James had done last night during those 31 minutes he spent on the floor against the Jazz looked like much.
The Cavs, though, didn't need remarkable from LeBron -- not at that point.
But without Shaquille O'Neal
(he was sidelined with a bum shoulder, or so the Cavs told the media), all eyes inside The Q focused on King James, because three quarters don't decide a basketball game. And to think the Jazz, a team crippled with injuries, wouldn't make a late run would be to confuse the Jazz with the Knicks
and not understand its brilliant mastermind, Jerry Sloan.
Few teams in the NBA
are as well coached as Sloan's Jazz. Even without Kyle Korver, Ronnie Price and Deron Williams, perhaps the best point guard in the universe, the Jazz remained a team the Cavs would have to reckon with. The reckoning began with 1:56 left on Carlos Boozer's two free throws.