Ravell Call, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz didn't need a magical make by Sundiata Gaines this time at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Not by a long shot.
Last-second heroics weren't even close to being needed against this Cleveland team, which has been decimated in the past six months by the departure of the Karma King and, more recently, a slew of injuries.
But in easily crushing the outmanned Cavaliers 121-99 Friday at EnergySolutions Arena, the Jazz offered up some pretty sweet nominations for sports show highlight reels and online replay clips.
Of course, editors had their work cut out to dig through all of the offensive moments.
The Jazz scored a season-best 70 points in the first half and followed up their 131-point outing Wednesday against the Knicks with another offensive masterpiece that included 52.8 percent shooting, 10-for-19 3-point accuracy, 32 assists, 26 points and nine assists from Deron Williams, an explosive 20 points from C.J. Miles, and oodles of ooohs and aaahs for the sellout crowd of 19,911.
"I think that is the way we need to play some nights," said Jazz starting shooting guard Raja Bell, who scored 15 points along with Andrei Kirilenko and Al Jefferson. "It's not going to be like that every night, where it is wide open and we are getting 120-something points."
But it sure is some sort of fun for the fans when it happens.
Especially when it includes game-changing highlights like this one did.
Two of the most eye-popping plays happened in consecutive trips down the court in the second quarter when the Jazz (27-13) used a 14-0 run to distance themselves from the eight-win Cavs en route to a season-best half that included a 39-point second quarter.
The play that was predicted in the locker room to end up No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top 10 list about sent the ESA roof into orbit and ignited Utah to its third win in a row.
While pushing the ball up the right side of the lane, Earl Watson flicked a pass behind his back to a trailing Andrei Kirilenko. The Russian/American forward then mimicked Watson with his own behind-the-back pass to Ronnie Price, who finished off the double dose of precise passing with a layup.
"Coach Sloan designed that play," Watson said with a smile.
Watson credited Kirilenko for making the tougher of the two tricky tosses.
"For A.K. to see the second play to be the same way is a quick instinctual thing," Watson said. "He has a knack for that and he is very talented, and Ronnie just put it in."
The stunning succession gave the Jazz their first double-digit lead at 42-31 after Utah only led Cleveland by six after the first quarter.
"Crazy," Price said.
"It changed the momentum for our team," Watson added.
Price then sparked another crowd roar when he stole a pass to kick off a fast break that ended with Miles elevating up, up and over Cleveland's J.J. Hickson. After Miles' monstrous dunk and free throw, Price hit a 3-pointer, Kirilenko sank a jumper and the Jazz suddenly had an 18-point lead over the Cavs (8-31) two nights after their 55-point landslide loss to the Lakers.
To Cleveland's credit, despite just having nine players in uniform, the Cavs trimmed Utah's 20-point halftime lead down to six in the third quarter. But the Jazz had far too much firepower, and a mixture of second unit guys and starters helped the home team quickly rebuild the lead back up to 21 a few minutes into the fourth.
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