BEN ANDERSON

Blog: Cavaliers Outshoot Jazz Behind Merrill Career-High

Dec 20, 2023, 7:20 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2023, 10:26 am

SALT LAKE CITY – The Cleveland Cavaliers outshot the Utah Jazz in their 124-116 victory at home.

Former Utah State Aggies guard Sam Merrill scored a career-high 27 points, knocking down eight of the Cavaliers’ 23 threes.

The Jazz were led by Lauri Markkanen who scored 26 points.

The Cavaliers were missing Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley, while the Jazz were playing without Keyonte George and Jordan Clarkson.

First Quarter

The Cavaliers jumped out to a quick start knocking down 6-9 from the floor including 2-4 from the three-point line to double up the Jazz 14-7.

The Jazz answered with an 11-4 run, fueled by four combined threes from Collin Sexton and Kris Dunn to tie the game at 18.

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Cleveland closed the quarter on an 18-9 run capped by a Sam Merrill three at the buzzer.

After one the Jazz trailed the Cavaliers 36-27.

Second Quarter

Merrill was on fire in the first half knocking down five three-point shots on seven attempts.

The Jazz were able to keep the score competitive via their hot three-point shooting of their own, knocking down 10-15 to open the game.

John Collins came off the bench for the second straight game and continued to play well as the Jazz’s backup center. The veteran had 14 points, four rebounds, and two blocks in 14 first half minutes.

At the half the Jazz trailed the Cavaliers 62-56.

Third Quarter

The Jazz pulled even early in the second half knocking down back-to-back threes to open the quarter.

Walker Kessler had a strong third quarter scoring six points on a perfect 3-3 shooting as his teammates found him near the rim.

Lauri Markkanen scored seven points in the third quarter bringing his total to 18 for the game.

After three the Jazz led the Cavaliers 93-92.

Fourth Quarter

Merrill set a new career high scoring his 20th point on a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers opened the fourth on a 12-0 run on three made threes to take a 101-93 lead with 10:26 left to play.

Cleveland’s lead climbed to as large as 13 midway through the quarter as the Jazz struggled to make shots against the Cavaliers stingy defense.

The Jazz fell to the Cavaliers 124-116.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Blog: Cavaliers Outshoot Jazz Behind Merrill Career-High