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Sundiata Gaines Slays The King. Jazz Beat The Cavaliers 97-96

Damn, we needed that one.

Best regular season game ever for the Jazz?

Don't know what else to say about this game.  Let's break down the last 6 minutes...

A 21-6 run has given the Jazz a 76-66 lead with 5:56 left in the game

5:40 - A steal by Boozer only to throw it away a second later

5:25 - Another steal by the Jazz but Matthews gets trapped under the basket and travels on the fast break.

5:10 - C.J. Miles gets the steal and goes coast to coast for the jam and the 78-66 lead.  Jazz fans are flying high right now.

4:50 - Shaq gets fouled and goes 1-2 from the FT line.  Jazz still up 78-67.

4:39 - Boozer gets fouled and makes two FT to give the Jazz their biggest lead, 80-67.

4:18 - Juwad Williams is fouled and makes two.  Jazz still in control, 80-69.

3:34 - The Jazz and Cavs exchange free-throws with Millsap missing one.  Jazz are up 83-71 still.  Boozer made the last two FTs after Gaines looks like he's getting the yips.  He almost turned it over driving into traffic, losing the ball, and then diving and getting it to Booze.

This is where things start falling apart and LBJ goes into god mode.

3:26 - LeBron James brings it up and this is where Mike Brown's non-play calling ability favors the Cavs.  It's all LBJ as he pulls up for three and nails it.  Jazz still up 9, 83-74.

3:13 - I'm surprised Gaines isn't pulling a McNabb and puking all over the place.  He really looks affected and turns the ball over when he gets doubled beyond the arc.

3:07 - LeBron shifts past god mode and blows by CJ for the dunk and the foul.  CJ is summarily yanked by Sloan.  Jazz still up 83-77.

2:58 - Mo Williams finally gets a foul called on him after hounding Gaines again.  Sundiata goes 1-2 from the line as his first attempt barely scrapes iron. 

2:30 - LeBron James drives on Brewer and gets the foul call.  No wait, it was Boozer called for the foul away from the ball on Varejao.  Bob makes both, Cavs pull within 5, 84-79.

2:16 - After a couple of Brewer FTs, LBJ drives on the other end and gets another AND-1.  Start creating worlds on the side.

2:04 - Matthews makes 1-2 FTs after he was fouled.  Ronnie Price comes back in for Gaines and Yatta gets the standing O.  Jazz up 85-82.

James has Matthews one-on-one if he wants to take him but it looks like the Cavs want a three.  James passes it to Anthony Parker who misses a three-point attempt.

After Ronnie P rebounds the miss, Boozer gets called for the forearm to the back of LeBron on the next possession.

LeBron then melts everything within a 5-miles radius into liquid hot MAG-MA.

1:15 - After making the first free-throw after another drive and foul, LeBron misses the second and gets it back.  He takes a step(s)-back jumper from three and nails it.  The Cavs now lead, 86-85.

1:02 - Ronnie Price turns the ball over.  That's probably going to be the ball game.

:40.2 - LeBron James just killed Chuck Norris.  After dribbling out the clock, James nails a three-pointer going to his right.  Cavs go up 89-85.  My comment, "We just got LBJd"

And that's when I wanted to turn off the game.  Why I kept watching, I don't know.  I'm guessing that's when a lot of the fans at the ESA left as well.  I start preparing my recap by searching for a LBJ pic and start thinking about how I can discount this loss.

:32.5 - C.J. jacks up a three with lots of time left on the shot clock.  Ill-advised yes.  But maybe we don't have enough time left in the game to get the ending we did.

Boozer fouls LeBron on the rebound and LBJ makes two.  Boozer fouls out as the Jazz are now down 91-85.

Why am I still watching?

:29 - Ronnie Price makes a three from the top of the arc.  Why do the Jazz have to torture and tease me at the same time?  Jazz pull within 3, 91-88.

:23 - After Anthony Parker makes two FTs, Ronnie P drives and gets Mo Williams to foul him.  Turns out to be big as Mo fouls out.  The Cavs will miss him late in this game.  Ronnie P makes both FTs and the Jazz are down 93-90.  Price had been shooting 56% (10-18) on the year so far.

:22.2 - The Cavs have to call a TO after trying to inbound the ball.  Good denying by the Jazz.  Anthony Parker gets a trip to the FT line and front-rims the first one.

So you're telling me there's a chance?

Jazz still down 94-90.

:15.7 - Probably the most underrated moment of the game.  The Jazz are getting trapped on the three-point line and the ball swings to Millsap near the sideline past the three point line. He fakes and dribbles left and gets tripped up by Delonte West

This stops the clock and puts Millsap on the line where he nails two FTs.  West had no business playing Millsap so close on that one.  Paul's only made one three-pointer in his career.  

Jazz down 94-92.

:15.1 - Anthony Parker misses another free throw.  He only converts one of two and cracks open the door for the Jazz as they're only up 95-92.

:5.9 - After Price drives again, he gets his shot blocked out of bounds to the right of the basket.  The Jazz struggle to inbound the ball but they finally get it in to Kyle Korver near the baseline.  He has two Cavs players on him and he shoots falling out of bounds, over the backboard.  It hits front rim, backboard, and then settles in.

Probably the second-biggest shot of this game.  If he misses that, the Cavs get the rebound and we're down two possessions. 

As it is though, the Jazz are within 1, 95-94.

We also see Sundiata Gaines check back in.  That might be important later.

:5.6  - The Jazz do another great job defending the inbounds pass.  The Cavs have to take another TO and get the ball at half-court.

Another unheralded play by Gaines here.  He fronts Anthony Parker well and denies him the pass.  They inbound to Big Z who is fouled.

Then all the prayers in Utah are answered and Z misses one of two free throws.  The Jazz now have almost an eternity of 5.6 seconds to either tie or win the game.

The announcers mentioned earlier that the Jazz hadn't used their last 20-second timeout on their last possessions.  As it turns out, if they hadn't saved that, they would have had to go the length of the floor after those free throws.

Instead, we get what is probably the best regular-season finish in Jazz history and jazz folklore is made as Sundiata Gaines nails the game-winning three pointer as time expires.  Not bad for a guy that was freezing his butt off in Idaho last week.

After watching the replay for the 765th time, I'm still getting chills.  You start to pick up on things like the awkward celebration from the Jazz fans that are courtside. 

Then you see Jerry Sloan give the same reaction off the bench as he gave when John Stockton sent the Jazz to the NBA finals.

If you're looking for a turning point, this just. may. be. it.

Just when the fans and probably the Jazz were at one of the lowest lows, they take us to mass euphoria.

I can't think of many things that could overshadow LeBron's performance tonight.  He put on a show in the final minutes that the we've only seen him do before against other teams and think, "Thank goodness that wasn't us."

He had that tonight and it was taken away by a 10-day contract player.  Perhaps it was fitting then that it was LeBron that was under the basket watching the ball sail true and stick a dagger in the king's heart.

Other notes

  • Fear The Sword
  • Cavs the Blog
  • For the Love of the Game
  • Matt Moore
  • Disney just bought the rights to the Sundiata Gaines story
  • Do these lyrics apply?
  • Eric Maynor who?
  • Overlooked in the game was Korver's block on LeBron James.  Highlight of the game to that point.
  • TNT just lost their rights to broadcast NBA games as they talk about LeBron and traveling.
  • As mentioned in the preview/game thread, the Achilles heel of the Cavs are free throw shooting and turnovers.  They had 21 TOs and 10 missed FTs including three down the stretch.
  • Weird that Deron and AK's injuries are afterthoughts to this game.  Hopefully they come out okay and don't miss games.
  • Jazz shot just 40% for the game but were blistering in the fourth.  The Jazz shot 70% (12-17) and had 42 points.  The Cavs had 36.  78 points in a quarter.  Wow.
  • Gaines with 9 points in 9 minutes in the fourth on 3-3 shooting.
  • I don't know if anything else really matters from this game so long as Deron is okay.