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Jackson's record assist comes on bittersweet day

CLEVELAND — Passing Magic Johnson for second place behind teammate John Stockton on the NBA's all-time assists list might be his greatest accomplishment in basketball, Mark Jackson said Sunday.

Unfortunately for Jackson, though, it happened nothing like he envisioned it would.

In Cleveland. A blowout loss to the Cavaliers, the game no longer in doubt. The Gund Arena crowd that rose to its collective feet announced to be 11,578, but really only about half of that actually on hand.

"It would have been nicer with a blowout win," Jackson admitted.

Still, when he passed to Calbert Cheaney for a 22-foot jumper from the right baseline that made it 97-80 Cavs in the fourth quarter of an eventual 112-95 Cleveland win over Utah, the accomplishment was quite special to Jackson.

It was his fifth of five assists in the game and the 10,142nd of his 1,238-game career, and it was something he will never forget.

"It's special to me, obviously," said Jackson, who considers Johnson the greatest point guard ever.

"And (the circumstances are) not going to take anything away from it," he added, "because it's truly an honor."

OSTERTAG UPDATE: The Jazz had planned to play starting center Greg Ostertag on Sunday, but he was unable to sleep Saturday night, and that combined with a headache was cause enough to hold him out.

Ostertag suffered a concussion when he was struck above the right eye by an accidental elbow from teammate Karl Malone, knocking him out cold in the third quarter of the Jazz's loss at Indiana on Friday night.

He was to be examined by a specialist today, a Jazz spokesman said, and his status for Tuesday's home game vs. Denver remains uncertain.

Backup Tony Massenburg started in Ostertag's place Sunday and played 30 minutes, producing a season-high 20 points, 14 shy of his career high.

ROOKIE WOES: The Cavaliers on Sunday announced guard Dajuan Wagner, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, will undergo arthroscopic surgery early this week to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Wagner, who is expected to miss the rest of the season, actually sustained the injury prior to the mid-February NBA All-Star Game break.

"The coaches noticed me limping a couple of weeks ago, and I told them I was all right," he told the Associated Press. "I thought it was just the wear and tear of playing pro ball."

Wagner was averaging 13.4 points per game, tied with Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire for third behind Miami's Caron Butler (14.6) and Houston's Yao Ming (13.8) among rookie scoring leaders.


Movin' on up

Only five players in NBA history have recorded more than 7,700 career assists, and Jazz backup point guard Mark Jackson moved into second place on that list Sunday:

1. John Stockton, 15,671

2. Mark Jackson, 10,142

3. Magic Johnson, 10,141

4. Oscar Robertson, 9,887

5. Isiah Thomas, 9,061


E-MAIL: tbuckley@desnews.com