Tonight the Utah Jazz start off their four game Eastern Conference road trip (their second trip of this early season) with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The big draw, and the straw that stirs the drink for them, is . It's with a very conservative point of view that you can admit that LeBron is probably one of the Top 10 greatest basketball players of all time. He's good if you like him. He's good if you hate him. For the Jazz, and moreso the Jazz fans, you love beating the team that has the best player. We cherished the wins against Magic Johnson 's Los Angeles Lakers in the 80s. We all saw Karl Malone go crazy in jubilation when he finally beat Larry Bird 's Boston Celtics in the 90s. Every game against the Chicago Bulls that resulted in a Michael Jordan loss was a game Jazz fans would never, ever forget. And today the focus remains firmly placed on LeBron James, and beating whatever team he plays for -- either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Miami Heat. For his career he's 14-9 against Utah. At home he's a commanding 9-2, while on the road things are better for the Jazz fans, as LeBron's teams are 5-7.
Let's look at his stats!
So LeBron has had two Triple Doubles against Utah. He has also dropped 20-29 points eight times, 30-39 points eleven times, and 40+ points twice, including a 51 point game back when he was 21 years old. He scores almost at will, and has an average of 29.52 ppg against Utah. But he's not just a scorer, he brings it with his rebounding, and assists. And really, an overall stat line of 30/8/7/2/1 is pretty great (rounding up).
He plays four more minutes on the road, and those games are harder and closer. And the Jazz have won 7 of 12 in Utah. More minutes means more stats -- and I guess we infer the games in Cleveland are "in the bag" so LeBron sits out the last few minutes.
Still, mang, he's averaging 27.64, 8.09, 7.82, 1.55, 1.36 at home. These are big numbers. But the only number that matters is the scoreboard at the end of the game. The Jazz have been a difficult team for LBJ, he doesn't win every time he steps out there on the court.
Each game and each season brings his vs. Utah Win % down, down, down.
So, will the Jazz win tonight? If LeBron James plays? (N.B. Cleveland media has upgraded his status from questionable to probable, and he is now expected to play.) Probably not. But if he does play, and the Jazz DO win, then I expect at least 1k comments in the game thread tonight.