SALT LAKE CITY – After helping his teammates handle most of the scoring with 12 assists, Deron Williams decided to keep it for himself at the end.
Williams drove the length of the floor for a layup with 1.3 seconds remaining Wednesday night to give the Utah Jazz a 103-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, overcoming LeBron James` triple-double and tying 3-pointer just seconds before.
James, who had a triple-double before the end of the third quarter, tied it with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6 seconds left to play. But before the Cavs could revel in the comeback, Williams was off and running toward the other end and the game-winner.
“We just get it and go. We find that works for us,” said Williams, who finished with 15 points. “I think they felt we were going to 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.”
Williams got around Zydrunas Ilgauskas, scooped the ball under the rim and laid it in for the Jazz, who left the door open for James to make it a thrilling finish.
James scored the final seven points for the Cavs and finished with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists – his 11th career triple-double. But he and the rest of the Cavs were caught by surprise by Williams` mad dash at the end.
“Great move. We expected him to call a timeout. But I should have known,” James said. “Great play. Nothing we could do.”
Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Paul Millsap scored a career-high 24 points for the Jazz as the held off the Cavaliers, who had played the night before and were without three regulars.
Cleveland trailed by as much as nine but never let the Jazz pull away down the stretch. With Utah leading 99-94, James drove for a layup that also got Millsap out of the game with his sixth foul. James missed the free throw that would have converted the three-point play, but the Cavs got a break when the rebound bounced straight to Ilgauskas, and Cleveland called timeout with 17 seconds left.
Rather than go for the tying 3-pointer, James drove for a layup that cut the lead to 99-98.
Cleveland had to foul and Utah`s Ronnie Brewer made it a three-point game with two free throws with 9 seconds to play. But that was plenty of time for James, who hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie it three seconds later.
“I tried to call timeout,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “Fortunately we got it inbounds and he knew what to do with it.”
Damon Jones` desperation shot at the end was way off and the Jazz had survived a game they nearly blew.
The Jazz left themselves vulnerable for a comeback by struggling at the line in the fourth quarter. After making 26 of their first 27, the Jazz cooled off and missed five of their final 13, giving James just enough room for a comeback.
“LeBron gets a triple-double like that and you hope to come away with the win, but not tonight,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “Our guys could have caved here a couple of times, but our guys kept fighting and fighting.”
The Cavs got 18 points and 14 rebounds from Ilgauskas, 17 points from Sasha Pavlovic and 12 points from Daniel Gibson. The Cleveland reserves were no help, scoring a combined 14 points.
Mehmet Okur had 10 rebounds and Matt Harpring scored 10 points for the Jazz.
* First-round draft pick Morris Almond made his NBA debut late in the first quarter when he entered the game as a sub for Gordan Giricek. Almond had been inactive for the first four games.
* Jones made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Utah`s lead to 29-26 at the end of the first quarter.
* Millsap`s previous high for points was 20 against the Raptors last November.
* The Cavs were without G Larry Hughes (knee), F Donyell Marshall (wrist) and G Eric Snow (knee).