Utah Jazz at Cleveland Cavaliers: Keys to stealing a huge win

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a second half basket with LeBron James #23 behind Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena on November 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 108-97. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a second half basket with LeBron James #23 behind Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena on November 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 108-97. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OH – DECEMBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 14, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – DECEMBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 14, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Key #3 – Someway, somehow contain King James

It’s almost hard to put into words how well LeBron James has played this season. Despite the fact that he’s nearly 33 years old and many thought that this season would be the one where he started to make a bit of a decline, he’s been about the best he’s ever been. Not only are his 28.1 points per game above his career average, but he’s shooting extremely efficiently – 57.8 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three, both of which are career highs.

That efficiency has been absolutely terrifying as James has been able to take over games and will his team to victory this season with even more ease than in years prior, which is almost hard to fathom. Not only that, but he’s doing a little bit of everything, averaging 8.3 rebounds per game and a career-high 9.1 assists per game. That assist number is very telling as it shows that not only is LeBron getting it done himself, but he’s getting his teammates involved in a way like never before.

In other words, he simply isn’t going to be stopped, but the Jazz have to hope to at least find a way to contain him and force him into a frustrating game. Luckily, they have a handful of pesky guys, including Thabo Sefolosha who many presumed rested last night in preparation for tonight’s match-up with LeBron, who will be up to the task on defense. But even so, holding him in check will be far from easy.

Crazy as it sounds, LeBron has only shot under 50 percent from the field in four games this season. However, the area where he’s most noticeably struggled in Cleveland’s losses has been in his three-point shooting. In wins, LeBron is shooting an amazing 45.5 percent from deep on 5.3 attempts per game. In losses, however, his three-point shooting clip is a measly 24.1 percent on nearly two fewer attempts.

Therefore, if the Jazz hope to hold him in check, they’ll need to emphasize slowing him down on the perimeter, forcing him into tough misses and therefore taking out what has otherwise been a stunningly effective aspect of his game. Of course, the tough thing about LeBron is that if you prepare for him one way, he’ll just beat you another, so even if he starts struggling beyond the arc, the Jazz will have to be ready for him to take it to them at the rim.

Nevertheless, even taking one aspect of his game away from him is more than most opponents are able to do and should be a major area of focus for the Jazz if they hope to have any chance of knocking off King James and the Cavaliers.