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Including Tuesday’s home matchup, the banged-up Cavaliers schedule over the past two weeks has essentially been a war of attrition – trying to survive the slate as the litany of injuries continue to pile up.
That was the case again against the Jazz, with Andre Drummond joining the walking wounded, announced as a late scratch with a right Achilles contusion. With Drummond – along with Cleveland’s starting backcourt and a host of others – on the shelf, the Cavs simply didn’t have the firepower to compete with Utah – which pulled away early to hand the Cavs the 117-87 loss, their third straight and fifth in the last six outings.
Drummond, who missed his first game after starting the season with 11 straight double-doubles, joined a list that includes Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Love, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Kevin Porter Jr. and Dylan Windler.
With nearly all their offensive weaponry on the bench, the Wine & Gold shot 39 percent from the floor on the night, including 26 percent from long range. J.B. Bickerstaff’s shorthanded squad handed out just 23 assists and didn’t attempt a single free throw until after halftime.
Four Cavaliers finished in double-figures, led by Cedi Osman, who finished with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting, adding four boards and a team-high six assists in the loss.
Rookie Isaac Okoro followed up with 11 points, but was just 4-of-13 from the floor, adding three boards, three assists and a pair of steals.
Damyean Dotson, getting his fourth straight start at the point, also notched 11 points – going 5-of-11 from the field to go with three assists and a pair of boards.
Yogi Ferrell, who inked a 10-day deal just yesterday, rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points, four boards and four assists in 23 minutes of work off the bench.
Utah’s main weapon off the bench – former Cavalier Jordan Clarkson – tallied 21 points off the bench, going 8-of-14 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from long-range.
On the night, the Jazz – who dropped 25 triples on Milwaukee last Friday – went 24-for-45 from beyond the arc on Tuesday, with starters Bojan Bogdanovic, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley combining to go 12-for-19 from deep.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens link up for a long-range anlly-oop. Osman fires a pass on target to a flying Stevens who catches and dunks with two hands to finish the play.
This one got away from the Wine & Gold early, with Cleveland simply unable to match a healthy Utah squad offensively.
After a tight, low-scoring first quarter, the Jazz jumped on the Cavs early in the second – running off a quick 14-4 spurt to go up two touchdowns midway through the period. Utah would extend its lead to as much as 16 points before half.
The Jazz took over in the third, outscoring Cleveland, 38-23 – ballooning the lead to 31 points near the end of the quarter and coasted home in the fourth.
By the Numbers – 12.7 … points that Cedi Osman is averaging over his last seven games, netting double-figures in five of those contests and handing out at least six assists in four.
"It’s hard to be systematically who you want to be when you lose this amount of guys – and keys guys, too. But figuring out a way where we can maintain our identity and principles on both sides of the ball is the most important thing. We don’t want to lose that."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
After falling in the Western Conference back-to-back to start the week, the Wine & Gold welcome the Knicks to town on Friday night to wrap up the three-game mini-homestand.
Following that, the Cavaliers will travel to the nation’s capitol for back-to-back matinees against the Wizards – whose Wednesday night matchup with Utah was postponed – on Sunday afternoon and again on MLK Day.
The Cavaliers return home for a two-game set against Kevin Durant and the Nets next Wednesday and Friday.