Kemp had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Utah Jazz 106-101 Sunday night, recovering from a near-knockout blow from Malone just in time to put away his old nemesis from the West.
Kemp was led to the locker room in a groggy, stumbling stupor after catching an elbow in the head from Malone as the power forwards fought for a rebound. He missed only a couple of minutes and returned to lead his new team to victory _ but said he didn't remember much of it.
"He got me somewhere good. I'm still trying to figure out where," said Kemp, who played eight years in Seattle and battled Malone's Jazz for Western Conference supremacy. "I didn't have it all together, that's for sure."
Malone had 24 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort, despite nearly scoring a knockout on Kemp.
"I knew I hit him, but I didn't know what happened," said Malone, who then took issue with the officiating. "I guess there were a lot of people that didn't see a lot of things out there tonight."
Cleveland's triumvirate of rookies rebounded from Friday's demoralizing loss to the Knicks. Derek Anderson led the way with 23 points, including 17 in the first half and 16-for-16 from the free-throw line.
"Derek is on a tremendous roll," Cleveland coach Mike Fratello said. "He's playing his best basketball."
Point guard Brevin Knight had 15 points and seven assists, winning the statistical battle with John Stockton, who had 11 points and six assists in his seventh game back from knee surgery. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs.
Adam Keefe scored 16 for Utah, and Bryon Russell had 13.
"It looked like we just didn't have the energy or whatever to go inside," said Utah coach Jerry Sloan, whose club is 2-2 on a five-game road trip in the East. "We just didn't make an effort to do it."
Kemp and Malone were wrestling for a rebound in the fourth when the Mailman's elbow connected hard with Kemp's face. Like a boxer hit with a knockout punch, Kemp collapsed to the court and lay on his stomach writhing in pain. No foul was called.
Knight hit a jumper at the other end to make it 85-81 Cleveland, and Malone dunked with Kemp still on the ground. The Cavs called a timeout, and a wobbly Kemp was led to the bench and then to the dressing room.
Cleveland led 90-87 when Kemp returned. He and Malone traded jumpers over each other to make it 94-93 Cleveland with 1:39 left. Knight sank a jumper, and Malone missed with Kemp guarding him. Kemp was fouled at the other end and made both to give the Cavs a 98-93 lead with 43 seconds remaining.
Cleveland made its last eight foul shots to hold off the Jazz _ four each by Knight and Anderson.