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Wrap-Up – After following six straight wins with three straight losses, the Cavaliers built on their huge road win over Oklahoma City by beating up the Jazz – 99-79 – on Friday night at The Q, holding Utah to 38 second-half points and riding Kyrie Irving’s first career-triple double to their second straight win.
Irving led both teams with 21 points, going 7-for-16 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding 12 assists and 10 boards in the win. Two other Cavalier starters – Tristan Thompson and Spencer Hawes – each notched double-doubles in the win and a third Cavalier – Tyler Zeller – finished one rebound short.
Tristan tallied his 29th double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 14 boards – going 9-for-12 from the floor and grabbing six of his rebounds off the offensive glass. Hawes, getting his third straight start, added 13 points and tied a season-high with 16 boards. Luol Deng was an efficient 8-for-12 from the floor for 16 points and Zeller chipped in with 10 points and nine boards.
The Cavaliers absolutely dominated Utah down low, bruising them on the boards, 56-31, and in the paint – outscoring the Jazz, 48-22. Cleveland out-shot the Jazz from the floor in the second half – 61 percent to 32 percent – outscoring Utah, 30-19, in each quarter after intermission.
Turning Point – After a back-and-forth first half, the Cavaliers started opening up the affair early in the third quarter – going on an 18-6 run after Richard Jefferson gave Utah a three-point lead two minutes into the second half. Kyrie scored seven points in that key run and finished with 15 in the quarter. Cleveland closed the third up by nine and would extend its edge to 23 in the fourth.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – The Wine and Gold’s young superstar is running out of accolades to achieve, but on Friday he crossed another one off the list – registering a career-high 10 boards and tying a career-best with his dozen helpers. After logging a combined 88 minutes in Cleveland’s mid-week back-to-back, Kyrie was pulled 23 seconds after grabbing his 10th board to secure the triple-double.
By the Numbers – 14.0, 10.4 … Spencer Hawes’ scoring and rebounding averages in five games with the Wine and Gold.
Quotable – Head Coach Mike Brown, on Kyrie Irving’s first career triple-double …
”As his coach, it was fun to be a part of. I’m happy for him, his dad and the rest of his family because that was well-earned and well-deserved. I’m fired up for him and for the organization and city. It was big for a young guy to step up and come up with his first triple-double in a game that we needed, especially in a win.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrapped up the month of February with a pair of wins and an 8-6 record, but the month of March will be the Wine and Gold’s true test. They start with another Western Conference club – the Memphis Grizzlies – on Saturday night on Beale Street. On Tuesday, the Cavs welcome San Antonio to The Q for Kyrie Irving Bobblehead Night. After a couple days off, the Cavaliers travel to face the Bobcats in Charlotte next Friday before returning home for a March 8 matchup with the Knicks – featuring Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey retirement ceremony at halftime.
Game Highlights: Cavs 99, Jazz 79