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Official postgame quotes and notes following the Jazz's 121-99 home victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
Notes: The Jazz are now 48-41 all-time versus Cleveland and 31-14 in Salt Lake City ...Utah entered the game 30th in the league is first quarter points (23.0) and tonight scored 31...Williams had 13 of his 26 points in the first quarter...C.J. Miles scored 11 points during a 17-6 Jazz run over 3:12 to open the second quarter ...Utah's 70 points are a season-high for a first half (previous high 66 vs. Toronto 11/3/10) ...Jazz tied the season-high with 10 three-pointers made and eclipsed the season-high in steals with 16 (previous 14 vs. Minnesota 12/22/10)...Utah is now 18-1 when leading after three quarters and 20-1 when scoring 100 or more points ...One year ago tonight Jazz rookie Sundiata Gaines hit a buzzer-beating three-point shot to beat LeBron James and the Cavs.
Jerry Sloan – Head Coach (27-13 this season) On the game"When we run the floor I feel pretty confident we're going to get something good. We did have a little trouble getting out of the gates in the second half, and we let them get back into the game. Give them credit, they are struggling (a bit) and I thought they played extremely hard. Fortunately, we were able to finish (with the win)."
On Utah' s second-quarter run"I don't know when I've seen a run like that with our team and had that many assists; I thought it was terrific basketball. The second group seemed to have tremendous energy. Earl (Watson), Ronnie (Price), and C.J. (Miles) was (really) shooting the ball (well). It was good for us."
Deron Williams – Guard (26 points, 9 assists) On the game"We've been coming out with a lot more energy and having energy for pretty much the whole game except for a little spurt in that third quarter. Our second group came in again and gave us a big lift and got after people. It's a good team victory.
On the upcoming road trip starting on MLK Day"Definitely, definitely a special day. A good way to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and play on his day. It'll be fun."
On the second quarter"It's that second group. They bring a lot of energy. They have been picking up full court. Ronnie and Earl were flying around disrupting people bringing up the ball up the court it takes them out of their rhythm it gets them out of their offense. On the other end they are pushing the basketball executing and getting easy lay-ups easy buckets."
On passing the ball"That's big for us when we get back to running getting it out and running, having fun not playing roll out basketball. We've been doing a better job of executing and setting screens. You know, being in the right place. It hasn't been perfect but it's been a lot better effort."C.J. Miles – Forward (20 points, 2 rebounds)On the second unit in the second quarter"That's our job. We take it upon ourselves to come in there and pick up, and get deflections and run. Defensively, we try and be active to get up and down the floor and get the crowd into it and bring energy. We are basically an energy group, especially when A.K. plays the four...it's just fun."
On taking the momentum on the road"We need to focus. Keep that focus, and go out there and play hard. You don't want to give their crowd any reason to get them energized and make runs. We just have to go out there and play hard."
Raja Bell – Guard (15 points, 5 assists)On the team playing at an optimal level"I think that is the way we need to play some nights. It's not going to be like that every night, where it is wide open and we are getting 120-something points. The way we were moving the ball, the way we were spaced, the way we were sharing the ball and executing is something that we need to do every night. That is something we can control."
On his impressions of the first half of the season, and a mid-term grade"I think we are a solid B. I am reluctant to give us an A just because I think we can do better. I think we have played well. We have had some trouble at home and some slow starts, but ultimately we have found ways to win games and put ourselves in a position to do some things in the playoffs and have a nice seed. Obviously we need to finish strong and continue to get better. But I give us a strong B."
Notes: The Cavs have now lost their last 12 games, and 22 of the last 23... In their last 10 against Utah, they are now 5-5 and 3-7 in their last 10 in Salt Lake City... Antawn Jamison played his 900th game tonight, he now becomes one of 23 active players with at least 900 games played and one of only three players all-time to have at least 17,000 career points, 7,000 career rebounds, 900 three-pointers made and 900 career games (Dirk Nowitzki and Scottie Pippen)... With 26 points, Jamison has now scored 20+ points in the past five games... Also, with 11 rebounds (tying season high) Jamison had his fourth double-double of the game... Mo Williams had his ninth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 assists... J.J. Hickson had his third double- double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds but also had nine turnovers.
Byron Scott – Head Coach (8-31 this season)On the game"Game of two halves. It's weird because the second half, the way we played, is what we talked about doing all morning long. In the first half, everything that we did was total opposite. Getting beat on the cross screens, getting beat on wide pin downs, getting beat on pick and roll defense, and then not challenging shots. Those are the things we've talked about before the game. In the second half, no adjustments. We just started doing them. So I have no idea. I just told our guys look, we have to make sure in the second half, those last 24 minutes, that we just play."
On responding to Tuesday's loss against the Lakers"It was the way I didn't want to respond in the first half and the way I wanted to see us respond in the second half. I thought again, like I said, the first half we just didn't execute defensively at all. Then in the second half, we did a much, much better job of executing on the defensive end. That got us a chance to get back into the game. But again, we just got to understand that we got to do that for 48 minutes. We can't make up stuff and that's what our guys were doing in the first half. They were just making up stuff defensively that we just don't do."
J.J. Hickson – (Center 21 Points, 14 Rebounds) On the difference in the two halves"I think we got focused and looked locked down on defense. We contested a lot of their shots and kept them out of the paint."
On staying focused and working as a team on defense"I think as a hole we gotta do a better job staying focused for the full 48 and I think we did a good job of that in the second half, especially in the third quarter when we went on a little role and cut it down to I think like nine points. It's tough just climbing up hill the whole second half but we'll take what we did and role with it."
Mo Williams – Guard (14 Points, 10 Assists) On the game and the Cavs' struggles this season"I thought we battled. I thought we gave effort. This (stretch) is the worst (of my career) by far. We are competing at least and that's all I can ask for."
On returning to Utah"It's fun. I will always have great memories from here. I couldn't have asked for a better place to start my career."
Brian T. Smith