Cavaliers Roll to Third Straight Win
Cleveland 110, Utah 85
CLEVELAND, Dec. 20 (Ticker) -- Zydrunas Ilgauskas did some damage inside and Damon Jones attacked from outside.
Ilgauskas scored all 18 of his points in the first three quarters and Jones made four 3-pointers in the third period as the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled to their third straight win, a 110-85 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Leading the way were Ilgauskas and Jones, whose effectiveness opened up the offense for everyone else. The Cavaliers shot a season-high 57 percent (36-of-63) from the field, including 6-of-11 from the arc, and attempted 44 free throws. They scored 18 fast-break points.
"We were able to get out in transition because we were able to get stops," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.
"I believe (Cleveland) would have beaten us by 100 points if they would have left everybody out there," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
Ilgauskas, a 7-3 center with a feathery touch, made 6-of-9 shots. He scored 10 points in the second quarter, when the Cavaliers took the lead for good, and added a three-point play early in the third period, when Cleveland pulled away.
Jones, a guard signed as a free agent to provide perimeter shooting, scored 12 points. In the third quarter, he made three 3-pointers in 86 seconds as part of a 10-0 run, then added another at the 3:35 mark to push the margin to 78-51.
"I had open looks and was able to make the first one," Jones said. "Being the shooter that I am, I was looking for more. They kept feeding me and I love it."
"Damon's threes didn't surprise me because that's what Damon does," Brown said.
James was his usual spectacular self, making 8-of-12 shots and 8-of-9 free throws while adding six rebounds in just 29 minutes.
"We knew that (the Jazz) were one of the best on half-court defensive field-goal percentage," James said. "We wanted to get out and attack and get easy buckets. In the third quarter, we got stops, DJ (Jones) caught fire, we were able to execute, and got a big lead."
Luke Jackson scored a career-high 14 points and Drew Gooden added 10 for the Cavaliers, who beat the Jazz for the fifth time in the last six meetings.
Gordan Giricek scored 16 points for Utah, which showed very little fight after the first quarter. Overall, the Jazz committed 21 turnovers and shot just 19 free throws.
In the first quarter, Utah shot 57 percent (13-of-23) and had 11 assists. But its offense disappeared thereafter. A layup by James gave Cleveland the lead for good at 41-39 with 3:31 remaining in the first half and started a 10-5 closing surge.
"We executed well at the start of the game," Sloan said. "I started making some substitutions and we didn't execute and couldn't even begin to guard them."
Cleveland's Ira Newble, who had been sidelined all season with a foot injury, made his debut with five points and two blocks in 23 minutes.
"I was just trying to run and get in game shape," Newble said. "It was like preseason for me. I definitely can get out there and mix it up on defense."
For the second straight season, former Cavalier Carlos Boozer (left hamstring) did not make the trip to Cleveland. Boozer has missed all 25 games this season. Forward Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) also was sidelined for the Jazz.
"I've got so many guys hurt, (my bench players) no longer become spectators with a free ticket to the game," Sloan said. "They've got to come ready to play. That's as plain as I can put it."