Jazz Outlast Cavaliers Despite Blowing Late 15 Point Lead
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz opened their four-game road trip with an impressive 109-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Jazz blew a 15 point fourth quarter lead, but the play of Rudy Gobert down the stretch allowed the team to hold on late.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 35 points to outduel 31 points from Darius Garland in the win.
Cleveland’s size gave the Jazz problems early as expected with the combination of Jarett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Lauri Markkanen each standing 7-feet.
However, Mitchell was undeterred by the Cavs length and had 15 quick points for the Jazz in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers got 12 points from Darius Garland on a perfect 4-4 shooting from downtown as the two backcourts dueled in a hot-shooting first quarter.
After one, the Jazz lead the Cavaliers 32-29.
The Jazz hot shooting slowed down in the second quarter, but the execution on both ends of the floor ramped up.
Trent Forrest’s usual second quarter minutes were nowhere to be seen after a rough -11 outing against the Boston Celtics on Friday, though he was battling a non-covid illness all week.
Rudy Gay had to fill in for the Jazz as the backup five as Hassan Whiteside missed the game with a lower-body injury, and scored nine points, and grabbed seven rebounds in the half.
At the break, the Jazz led the Cavaliers 55-50.
The Jazz looked like the 2020-21 Jazz in the third quarter, vacillating between shot-making when they’re falling, and executing when they aren’t.
Cleveland has done a nice job erasing Rudy Gobert as a scorer, and he had just four points on 2-5 shooting, but it’s come at the cost of Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, and Bojan Bogdanovic all being in double-figures.
The Jazz turned the ball over seven times in the quarter but that was a result of more aggressive ball movement.
After three, the Jazz led Cleveland 91-82.
The Jazz opened the quarter with a 6-0 to build their lead to 15, but quickly gave it all back to the Cavaliers.
In just over two minutes, Cleveland went on a 15-0 run thanks to Jazz turnovers, unlikely three-point shooting, and some poor Jazz defense to tie the game up at 97.
The Cavaliers continued to keep the game close, but Gobert was the best player on the floor to close the game on both sides of the floor, playing defense, and grabbing offensive rebounds.
The Jazz beat Cleveland 109-108 to open their four-game road trip.
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