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Ex-Jazzman Pavlovic playing well for Cavs

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His 3-pointer from the right corner made it a one-point game, and his last-second steal made the Jazz sweat out Wednesday's 99-98 win over Cleveland.

Utah might not have had to endure such uncertainty had they stuck with Sasha Pavlovic. Instead, the Jazz left their 2003 first-round draft pick exposed in the 2004 NBA Expansion Draft and he eventually wound up with the Cavaliers.

For that, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan seemed to express a tinge of regret Wednesday, offering nothing but kind words about the swingman who played only one season in Utah.

"He was a wonderful guy. He was a hard worker while he was here," Sloan said. "I was happy for him to get an opportunity, because he deserves that. He was young, and ... we probably made a mistake here and there with him."

Sloan suggested Pavlovic struggled during his first NBA seasons with something many rookies do.

"You know, it takes some players longer in this league," he said. "They come in and have all the expectations of the world of being Kobe Bryant, or someone like that, and they think they're just a notch or two away from him. Young guys have that feeling, and it's pretty tough to come down to the realization of 'I've got to work to learn who I can be, not be like somebody else.'

"A lot of guys never come out of that," Sloan added. "But you have to him credit for working to make himself better, and realizing that if you're gonna play in this league you've got to get better every day."

Pavlovic finished with four points in 17 minutes Wednesday.

AMUNDSON'S FATE: The 10-day contract signed by rookie forward Louis Amundson expires today, leaving the rookie from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in a bit of limbo at least for a while.

The Jazz didn't reveal Wednesday what their plans are for Amundson, but if they wait until early next week to sign him to a second 10-day deal, he can be available for five games.

Or they can bring in someone else on a 10-day.

Amundson wasn't active for any of his first three games with the Jazz.

"Guys I already have here know what we're doing in our offense, and I have a guy that doesn't really know what we're doing," Sloan said in explaining why Amundson didn't dress. "I've still got to win.

"It's a timing thing," he added, referring to learning the Jazz's offense. "Regardless of who you are, sometimes you get out there and it doesn't flow like you'd for it to, because you have guys that forget it. You just have to keep working on it, so that's kind of where we are with him."

HE SAID IT: Sloan, when initially asked to comment on Pavlovic's growth with the Cavs: "What, has he gotten taller?"

MISC.: The Jazz's 35 wins matches their most at the All-Star break since the 1994-95 season ... Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko's first-quarter block on Anderson Varejao marked Kirilenko's 1,000 career swat, and All-Star Mehmet Okur's five rebounds pushed him over the 2,500 plateau ... With usual starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas missing his first game of the season while tending to a family health matter, Varejao, as expected, started in the 5 spot for Cleveland ... Cavs starting point Daniel Gibson exited early with a sprained big toe ... Ex-Jazz forward Donyell Marshall had nine points in 15 minutes and Utah native Scot Pollard had two in seven minutes for Cleveland ... Wednesday's sellout was the Jazz's seventh straight and 17th in 27 home games this season ... A moment of silence was observed before Wednesday's game to remember victims of Monday's Trolley Square shooting tragedy.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com