Utah defeats Cleveland for third straight win

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz looked more refreshed than rusty after their longest break of the season to date.
Randy Foye scored 20 points and Derrick Favors added 19 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 109-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Six players hit double figures in scoring for the Jazz, including Al Jefferson's double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, as Utah improved to 22-19 with its third win in a row.
Utah, which shot 50 percent and scored 56 second-half points, hadn't played since Monday when it beat the visiting Miami Heat.
"One more day (off), I would have thought it was summer vacation," said Jefferson, whose team had only had one three-day break this season before this four-day respite. "It was good to get a couple days rest and come out and have fresh legs."
Shooting guard Dion Walters led Cleveland with 23 points off the bench. The Cavaliers also got an 18-point outing from point guard Kyrie Irving and 12 points apiece from former Jazz player C.J. Miles and Tristan Thompson. Center Tyler Zeller had 13.
But Cleveland dropped to 10-32 overall and 6-20 on the road while finishing a five-game road trip with a 1-4 record, having won in Portland on Wednesday.
"I thought the second half they played harder then we did," said Cleveland coach Byron Scott, whose team only trailed by five at halftime. "I thought they played a lot harder. It seemed like they wanted it more than we did. Their second unit was great."
It was Utah's fifth win in six games and its eighth in a row at home against Eastern Conference teams. The Jazz, winners of four straight at home, are now 41-7 against the East since February 2009.
The Jazz took command of the game with a 31-20 quarter during which they used runs of 9-0 and 6-0 to take a double-digit lead for good.
Foye began the third quarter with a 3-pointer and then hit another deep make as the Jazz took a double-digit lead for good early in the second half.
Foye went 4-for-8 from long range and 8-for-15 overall from the field while hitting the 20-point mark for the sixth time this season, which is tied with Paul Millsap for second on the team in that category behind Jefferson. The Jazz's starting shooting guard averages 11.1 points.
Along with Favors' big bench outing, Enes Kanter scored 14 points and DeMarre Carroll contributed 13 points. Utah's reserves scored 51 points. Earl Watson also dished a team-high nine assists.
Miles' 10 points in the first half helped the Cavs remain in the game in the first half despite 40.9 percent shooting. But he only added one second-half bucket for Cleveland in his first game in Utah as a visitor.
"It surprised me a little bit. It was a little bit louder than I thought it was going to be," Miles said of his introduction reception. "I'm glad (the fans) still have love for me here. I definitely still have love for everybody here. It was cool."
Foye, who'd hit 17 of 27 shots coming into this one, continued his hot shooting with 11 points in the first half to help the Jazz turn an early six-point deficit into a 53-48 halftime lead.
Utah went into the break ahead thanks to an 8-3 run at the end of the second quarter.
"We talked about having fresh legs and we wanted to come out and demonstrate that," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I thought the guys did a good job pushing the ball down the floor."
Utah finished with 30 assists, had 21 fast-break points to the Cavs' five, outrebounded Cleveland 46-40 and won the points-in-the-paint battle 46-36.
Miles averaged 8.4 points in 389 games for the Jazz from 2005 after being picked in the second round out of his Dallas high school through the 2011-12 campaign. He averaged a career-best 12.8 ppg in 2010-11, but only shot 38.1 percent while averaging 9.1 ppg last year.
The swingman's time in Utah was a mixed bag, which included moments of inconsistency-ignited frustration and occasional glances of potential from a promising young player with athleticism and a nice shooting touch.
Coach Jerry Sloan perhaps summed up Miles' seven years with Utah with this one quote: "We can't put diapers on him one night and a jockstrap the next night."
Miles' relationship with Sloan was strained at times, but the 25-year-old holds the retired Jazz coach in high regard and credits the Hall of Famer for pushing him and being an invaluable mentor during their time together from 2005-11.
"Of course at that time I felt like I wanted to play, I wanted to be on the court. But there were a lot of things I still had to learn," Miles said. "I feel like I could have played, but I definitely couldn't have played at the level I thought I could at that time because there was so much I had to learn. I was 180 pounds."
NOTES: Former Cavalier Mo Williams remains sidelined for at least another four weeks after undergoing surgery to repair tendon damage in his right thumb two weeks ago. The Jazz point guard, who played in Cleveland from 2008-11, made it clear he's still fond of his time with the Cavs on his Twitter account: "I wanna say, I have some great memories as a (Cav)." ... Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving had averaged 25.0 points in his eight previous games. He had nine assists but shot 7-for-20. ... The Cavs next face Boston at home Tuesday; the Jazz have three days off before hosting Washington on Wednesday.

What to Read Next