Keys to the game: Cavaliers vs. Jazz

Road warriors

Wine & Gold are looking to complete their five-game winning streak after winning one of the most impressive road trips (literally) in franchise history – welcoming Donovan Mitchell and the Octane Jazz brought up in town for a Sunday morning.

JB Bickerstaff’s defensive-minded side demolished their third straight opponent on the road – and fourth overall – with another double-digit victory in a game that was hardly in doubt, crushing the Wizards on Friday night in Washington.

The Cavs used a 19-0 run spanning both halves to open the game – rising to 36 points while keeping the Wizards, especially Bradley Beal, completely under control.

Darius Garland exploded for 32 points, a game-high and a season-high, dropping 5 of 6 at long distance, adding 10 assists and eight boards, a career high.

Jarrett Allen followed with a career-high 28 point outing, adding 13 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, game-high, and Lauri Markkanen scored with 15 points, six assists and a pair of assists. .

Rookie Evan Mobley didn’t have a productive shooting night, but managed three more shots, giving him 13 in his last four games. Over the season, the incredibly efficient 20-year-old has more blocked shots (37) than turnovers (36) and has committed just 40 personal fouls. In its last dozen games in the roster, the Cavs are 10-2.

The Jazz come to town with the goal of leading their own four-game winning streak, having beaten Boston to wrap up a four-game homestand on Friday night.

Utah scored 137 points, a season-high, and gutted the season-best 27 three-pointers in the win, with Mike Conley hitting all seven trebles he attempted and Donovan Mitchell hitting six of his own. The Cavaliers are looking to slow that trend as they attempt to expand their steak of opponents to the NBA’s 14 straight games on Sunday.

Cleveland travels to Milwaukee for a Monday night clash with the world champions before returning home for a Wednesday night showdown with division-leading Zach LaVine and the Bulls.


In some ways, like their clash earlier this week in Dallas, the Cavaliers can use this game as a measuring stick (and perhaps a revenge shot) against last year, when the Jazz beat Cleveland by 30 points. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and 39 in Salt Lake City. Overall, Utah leads the head-to-head series 73-46 with the Jazz holding a dominant advantage, 47-13, at home.

The all-time leader in series assists for Utah is understandably John Stockton, who handed in 22 cents in a Cavaliers’ overtime win in 1989. (It was not the victory over Utah in which Craig Ehlo hit the winner on the buzzer to the legendary Joe Tait call: “Yes, Virginia! There’s a Santa Claus – and he’s from Lubbock, Texas! I have checked.)

The Cavs’ all-time leader in the series is the underrated John Bagley, who finished with 18 points in a Coliseum loss in 1985. The late Mel Turpin led Cleveland with 26 points.


In terms of coaching relationships, Cavs assistant Antonio Lang has been with the Jazz for five seasons – from 2014 to 2019 – while current head coach JB Bickerstaff coached Mike Conley with Memphis for three seasons. in 2016-19. On Quin Snyder’s bench is Alex Jensen, who, as the Charge’s head coach, led Canton to two playoff appearances and a division title.

On the field of play, the Cavaliers will welcome Jordan Clarkson – the reigning sixth man of the year in the league – back to town. Mizzou’s universally beloved 8th-grade man played 138 games with Wine & Gold, including with the 2018 Finals squad, before transferring to Jazz just before Christmas in 2019.

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