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Jazz humiliated by Davis, Cavs

In final seconds, guard shoots at Utah's basket

CLEVELAND — It wasn't enough the Jazz lost by 27 points Sunday, or that they lost for the fourth time in six games.

It wasn't enough the Jazz lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, of all teams, or that they seem to have lost confidence in each other.

What was enough: Ricky Davis losing all semblance of tact and rubbing salt in an open sore that stung so bad Jerry Sloan nearly lost it himself.

After scoring a game-high 28 points in Cleveland's 122-95 victory over the fading-fast Jazz, Davis did the unthinkable: With two seconds to go, the Cavaliers guard shot at Utah's basket, hitting its rim.

Davis' deed was a misguided attempt at pulling down his own rebound. With 28 points, a career-high 12 assists and nine boards at the time, after all, he was only one rebound away from an apparently treasured triple-double.

But the Jazz — rather road weary at the end of a five-game, 10-day trip — didn't seem to care why he did it. They were only hacked he did.

"That's embarrassing to our team, especially me," said DeShawn Stevenson, who was guarding Davis at the time.

Stevenson's reaction was to try to foul Davis hard, and he did get a piece of him. But it wasn't nearly enough for Jazz coach Sloan, who about blew up when he realized what Davis had done.

"DeShawn fouled him; I would have fouled too," Sloan said later. "I would have knocked him on his a--.

"If you try to embarrass a team after a 20-point lead, you're (expletive) right — I'd knock him down. . . . I was glad DeShawn tried to knock him down. They can put me in jail, or whatever they want, for saying that, but that's the way it is."

Davis later offered a token apology of sorts, but in the process managed to insult the Jazz even more.

"They should be mad," he told the Associated Press. "Any team that gets beat that bad shouldn't be happy. But I wouldn't do it again. I just wouldn't."

What Davis did evidently is not a technical foul, because he did not actually make the basket. He didn't get credit for the rebound, either.

But Sloan wanted him whistled for "a violation" of some sort.

Referee Marc Davis, not exactly a Sloan favorite, did at least apologize himself for not immediately addressing the matter, though he did it only after the Cavs guard went to the free-throw line and scored two more points.

Lots of good that did.

Cavaliers coach Keith Smart also apologized to Sloan, which was soothing to some degree.

"He's trying to do the right thing with his team, trying to teach them the right way," Sloan said. "He deserves a lot of credit for trying to do that."

Meanwhile, the Jazz deserve anything but credit for the way they played.

The Cavaliers came into the game losers of seven straight and owners of by far the worst record in the NBA, 11-53. Only three of their wins before Sunday were over teams with winning records.

The Cavs even have been accused of tanking games in an effort to land high school sensation and projected No. 1 overall draft choice LeBron James, and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer newspaper actually runs a weekly graphic, dubbed "The Race for LeBron," that updates the progress, or lack thereof, of the league's five worst teams.

Sunday, though, the Jazz looked like they were chasing LeBron.

"They just dominated us all the way around," Sloan said.

"All we did was seem to play out on the perimeter, and when our team does that, then we give up the layups that really play into their hands," he added. "They cracked us real good on some screens, which is fine. (But) we couldn't do the same on our end."

While the Cavs were shooting a season-best 60.2 percent, the Jazz were getting only 23.3 percent shooting (7-of-30) from their bench. Among others, John Amaechi was 0-for-5, Stevenson 0-for-4, Scott Padgett 1-for-6 and Mark Jackson, who passed Magic Johnson on Sunday for second place on the NBA's all-time assists list, shot 2-for-5.

And while Milt Palacio was scoring a career-high 20 points and Chris Mihm a season-high 19 and four other Cavs including Davis were in double figures, only three Jazz players shot better than 50 percent: Tony Massenburg, who started because of the concussion Greg Ostertag sustained Friday and finished with a season-high 20 points; Matt Harpring, who also scored 20; and John Stockton.

"We're not playing good basketball right now," Jackson said.

"We're just not competing," he added, "and when you get in situations like that you just have to outwork people, and then everything else will take care of itself."

Otherwise, guys like Ricky Davis try to take care of things for you.


E-MAIL: tbuckley@desnews.com