Wine and Gold Rally Past Jazz
Wrap-Up – Wednesday’s thrilling 104-101 comeback win over the Jazz at The Q doesn’t make up for Monday’s tough loss to the Knicks, but it was still a perfect shot in the arm for the shorthanded Cavaliers.
Trailing by a dozen points midway through the fourth – and by six with 1:47 to play – the Wine and Gold fed off Kyrie Irving’s energy and went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the second stanza. Irving scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the final five minutes, but it was his steal that ignited a fastbreak dunk for Wayne Ellington that gave Cleveland the 102-101 lead with 56 seconds remaining.
Former Cavalier, Mo Williams’ layup attempt – that would have given Utah the lead back with 4.9 to play – rattled around the rim and out. Ellington was fouled and canned the final two free throws, capping a 12-1 run to ice the victory.
With his backcourt partner, Dion Waiters, still on the shelf with a stomach illness, Irving flirted with a triple-double – adding a game-high 10 assists, seven boards and a pair of assists to his 20-point total. Tristan Thompson doubled-up with 16 points and 12 boards and Alonzo Gee added 15 points. Mo Speights scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter and C.J. Miles torched his old team – netting all 12 of his points in the fourth period, going 4-for-6 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Turning Point – The Wine and Gold looked listless through three-and-a-half quarters at The Q, but C.J. Miles ignited an 8-0 run midway through the fourth, just as it seemed Utah was ready to run away. Miles – who spent the first seven years of his career in Salt Lake City – drilled a pair of treys 49 seconds apart to slice Utah’s 88-76 lead to 88-84. The Jazz upped their edge to eight with 3:20 to play, but by then, the reigning Rookie of the Year began to heat up.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – The Cavaliers’ All-Star didn’t have is A-game for the first 43 minutes of Wednesday’s contest, but when he kicked it into gear, the Jazz simply didn’t have answer for him. Irving is one of the league’s best scorers in the fourth quarter – and recently it’s best in the game’s final four minutes. And on Wednesday, he again unleashed his arsenal in money time.
By the Numbers – 21 … wins for the Wine and Gold, matching their victory total from all of last season. Albeit in a truncated 2011-12 campaign, the Cavaliers didn’t notch win No. 21 until April 20. With Wednesday’s win, Cleveland is now 11-8 since January 22.
Quotable – C.J. Miles, on the Cavaliers rallying past his old squad …
”The basketball gods looked out for us tonight. We’ve definitely had some tough breaks; tonight we got one.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrap up their five-game homestand when they welcome the Grizzlies to The Q on Friday night. They travel to Toronto for a Sunday evening affair before returning home next Tuesday for a meeting with John Wall and the Wizards.