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Wrap-Up – After a back-and-forth affair through the first stanza, the Cavaliers jumped the Jazz out of the halftime locker room and hit another gear to end the third period -- closing the quarter on a 13-2 run and pulling past Utah for the convincing 113-102 win on Friday night in Salt Lake City.
Friday’s game marked the Cavaliers debut of Luol Deng, who was acquired from Chicago in a deal earlier in the week. In 21 minutes, the two-time All-Star went 4-for-8 from the floor for 10 points as he adjusted to his new teammates.
One of Deng’s new teammates – the Wine and Gold’s other All-Star, Kyrie Irving – scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the decisive third quarter. Tristan Thompson doubled-up for the 16th time this season, going 9-for-12 from the floor for 18 points and 15 boards. C.J. Miles returned to face his old team and went 6-of-7 from the field for 17 points and Dion Waiters came off the bench to notch 17 points of his own. Jarrett Jack hit five of his six field goal attempts for 12 points and Tyler Zeller rounded out the Cavs in double-figures with 10. Anderson Varejao scored just two points, but finished with 14 rebounds in the win.
The Cavaliers shot 54 percent from the floor and dominated Utah down low – topping them on the boards, 45-34, and in the paint, 54-40. Cleveland shot an even 50 percent from the beyond the arc and 80 percent from the stripe.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers quickly erased a three-point deficit when they came out of the locker room at half, but they pulled away for good in the final three minutes of the third quarter. Up by four, 72-68, Kyrie Irving scored eight straight points – drilling a pair of treys after sinking an 18-footer. Dion Waiters crushed home a right-handed dunk after a steal and feed from Kyrie and Jarrett Jack drilled a bomb at the buzzer to put the Wine and Gold in the driver’s seat headed to the final period.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – Countless times during his brief but brilliant NBA career, Kyrie has taken over games on the offensive end. But it was his on-ball defense that got the Cavaliers going in the third quarter on Friday. Of course, he handled his business offensively as well, going 9-for-18 from the floor, hitting all three three-pointers he attempted and going 4-of-5 from the stripe. The third-year guard added six boards and game-highs in assists (8) and steals (5) while committing just two turnovers in 37 minutes of play.
By the Numbers – .657 … C.J. Miles’ shooting percentage (25-of-38) over the last three games. In that span, Miles has also gone 13-of-20 from long distance.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, having some fun, when a Utah reporter asked him if Kyrie Irving exploding offensively was something Coach Brown tells him to do or just something he does
on his own …
”I tell him to do it.”
Up Next – Following Friday night’s convincing win over the Jazz, the Wine and Gold head to the Golden State for a pair – taking on the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday afternoon and the Lakers at the Staples Center on Tuesday night. The matchup vs. L.A. will be Mike Brown’s first meeting with the Lakers since being let go five games into the 2012-13 season. The following night, the Cavaliers travel to Portland to face the Blazers before wrapping up the roadie next Friday night in Denver.
Watch Highlights: Cavs 113, Jazz 102