Brent Asay Utah Jazz
The Roundup-Jazz 100, Cavaliers 92
What a rollercoaster. And what a win.
In a game of extreme runs, the Utah Jazz held off the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers to come away with a 100-92 victory Tuesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
The Jazz went on 14-2 and 10-0 runs in the second quarter to take a 15-point lead into halftime. Cleveland, though, began the third quarter on a 19-2 run to take the lead. And then (of course) the Jazz got on a roll and took another 15-point lead ... that Cleveland whittled down to six before Utah pulled out the victory.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz (24-16) with 28 points, while Rodney Hood (18 points), George Hill (13 points, seven assists), Derrick Favors (12 points), Rudy Gobert (11 points, 14 rebounds, three steals) and Trey Lyles (12 points) also scored in double figures.
LeBron James scored a game-high 29 points for the Cavaliers (28-9). Kyrie Irving added 20 points, while Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson scored 12 points each in the loss.
Hayward was money throughout the game. He scored from all over the floor—throwing down alley-oop dunks; running around screens and drilling 3-pointers; knifing his way into the lane for tough buckets. Hayward scored 10 of his 28 points in the first quarter to get the Jazz going, and ended up shooting 10-for-12 from the field (including 4-for-5 from 3-point range) and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line. He added nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block (and only one turnover) in 38 minutes.
The game was a battle from the middle of the second quarter until the final buzzer, but the most important period for the Jazz came midway through the third quarter. Cleveland came out of halftime and punched the Jazz in the face, shooting 8-for-12 from the floor—including a heat-check 30-footer by James that gave Cleveland a two-point edge—to erase Utah's 15-point lead in the blink of an eye. Instead of backing down, though, the Jazz responded with a 16-0 run of their own to take back the momentum.
Hood put in a layup. Hayward scored on a transition dunk and then sank back-to-back threes. Hill canned a pull-up jumper. Gobert threw down a dunk. And Hayward took the ball coast to coast and put in an off-balance runner to give Utah a 14-point lead with 2:14 left in the third quarter. That run provided just enough cushion for Utah to withstand Cleveland's fourth-quarter rally until Hood pretty much sealed it with a corner three with just over two minutes left.
Utah's clutch 3-point shooting was a huge difference-maker tonight. The Jazz shot 13-for-34 (38.2 percent) from 3-point range, and many of those threes came at important times. Hood (4-for-10) and Ingles (1-for-4) hit back-to-back threes just before halftime. Hayward (4-for-5) hit two straight as part of Utah's third-quarter run. Lyles missed his first five 3-point attempts, but he kept shooting and drained two in a row early in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland has one of the NBA's most high-powered offenses (No. 4 with 110.3 points per game, No. 2 with 12.9 threes per game) but—outside of th first half of the third quarter—the Jazz shut them down. The Cavs shot only 36.5 percent as a team, and went 9-for-31 (29.0 percent) from 3-point range. In the end, the Jazz held the Cavs to their third-lowest point total of the season.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"[Gordon] was great tonight. When you talk about where he is, I think that the consistent level—his level of play being so high consistently—is what's separating him right now. He had big games last year at various times, but he's up at that level more, and for longer periods during the game."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
The Jazz shot only 57.9 percent (11-for-19) from the free-throw line. ... Former Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver made his Cavs debut after arriving in a trade from the Hawks over the weekend. He scored two points on 1-for-5 shooting. ... Hayward went 3-for-3 on technical free throws. ... Utah outscored Cleveland 40-32 in the paint. Cleveland outscored Utah 20-10 in transition. ... Hood scored in double figures for the first time in five games.
The Jazz will stay in Salt Lake City for a game with the Detroit Pistons on Friday. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.