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Jazz fall in Boozer's return to Cleveland, 82-73

Jazz fall in Boozer's return to Cleveland, 82-73



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By JOE MILICIA Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James silenced Carlos Boozer's boos.

James came through with 24 points, a season-high 17 rebounds and some stunning dunks to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Utah Jazz 82-73 Saturday night for their eighth straight win.

Boozer, in his first game back in Cleveland since he left nearly three years ago for more money in Utah, scored 19 points and had 14 rebounds, playing through a steady chorus of boos and derisive chants.

He clanked a pair of free throws off the rim with 27 seconds left and his team down 79-73, much to the delight of the heckling crowd.

However, James, who was one assist shy of a triple-double, drew even more emotion from the fans.

He broke the Cavaliers out of their first-half malaise with 10 straight points during a 12-0 run that put Cleveland up 65-56 early in the fourth quarter.

James' scoring outburst included a pair of two-handed slams. On the second, Larry Hughes lofted the ball high for James, who soared, jammed it in, then came down screaming for several seconds in exhilaration.

The Jazz have lost four straight on the road after winning six straight. They haven't scored more than 90 points during the streak.

Mehmet Okur scored 19 points and Deron Williams added 12 for the Jazz, who lost on back-to-back nights.

The Cavaliers got another strong performance from Sasha Pavlovic, who scored 21 points and was the recipient of several of James' assists.

James led the Cavaliers despite shooting 8-for-21 and 0-for-6 from 3-point range. He entered averaging 32.9 points on 53.6 percent shooting over his past 12 games.

Boozer said before the game that he was glad to be back in Cleveland and has moved on since leaving after the 2003-04 season. The fans clearly haven't.

They booed Boozer during his introduction and every time he scored, rebounded and even when he inbounded the ball. "Boozer is a Loozer" was among the signs in the crowd.

Both teams struggled in the first half, each shooting less than 34 percent. The Jazz, who missed 16 straight shots between the first and second periods, led 32-31 at halftime.

Notes:@ Utah G Gordan Giricek was inactive with bruised right ribs after a hard hit on a screen by Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert on Friday night. G Matt Harpring did not play because of inflammation in his right knee. ... Cavaliers G Daniel Gibson is questionable with a left big toe sprain. ... The Cavaliers have won five of their past six games against Utah and six straight at home.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-03-17-07 2035MDT

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