If Utah Jazz fans thought Monday’s overtime loss to Milwaukee was painful, Wednesday’s outing versus the Cleveland Cavaliers might have topped it on the heartbreaker scale. Utah was in control for most of the game against the Cavs, but saw things slip away in the last two minutes. Cleveland outscored the Jazz 9-0 to win a 104-101 nail-biter.
The Jazz looked to have this one in the bag, thanks to solid efforts in the middle two quarters in which they outscored the Cavs 57-45. Things continued for the first 10 minutes of the fourth before unraveling. Led by All-Star Kyrie Irving, the Cavs took control and made big plays on both ends of the court. Their defense down the stretch was stifling, which produced some excellent scoring opportunities for Cleveland.
Instead of redeeming the previous game, Utah feels the sting of yet another bitterly close loss. The Jazz will attempt to get back on their winning ways Friday against the Chicago Bulls.
Mixed Rotations, Mixed Results: After a lengthy absence, the Jazz welcomed back point guard Mo Williams with open arms. Along with his reinsertion into the starting lineup, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin gave DeMarre Carroll the starting nod at small forward in place of Marvin Williams. All this was in hopes of invigorating a starting five that has struggled of late.
The results were fair. Williams scored five early points and helped speed up the pace of the Utah attack. But he struggled the rest of the way, firing blanks on his final 10 attempts. This included a layup that would have given the Jazz a lead. He finished with eight points, six assists and four turnovers in 27 minutes.
Carroll actually saw a dip in playing time, going just 14 minutes and scoring four points. Marvin Williams had his second scoreless game.
Bits and Pieces:
• Once again, the Utah bench did most of the damage on the scoreboard. The trio of Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks combined to 56 points off the pine.
• Former Jazz swingman C.J. Miles played well, scoring 12 points in 18 minutes. He hit a few crucial shots in the fourth quarter.
• The Jazz assisted 26 of 38 field goals, a 68.4 percent clip.
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• Irvin shot just 7 of 20 from the floor, but hit them when they were most needed. In addition to 20 points, he dished out 10 assists and even snagged seven rebounds.
• Eight Utah players recorded at least one blocked shot, with Derrick Favors having four.
• Despite the Jazz’s imposing frontcourt, Cleveland won the battle of the boards, 49-38, with 16 of the offensive variety.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.