On the same evening that CEO Greg Miller was featured on "Undercover Boss," his team may have wished they were the ones in disguise. The Utah Jazz played the first of what will be six straight road games Friday, taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. And it was not the way they wanted to start an extended road excursion. Despite some stellar perimeter shooting, the Jazz were throttled by the Cavs in a 99-79 blowout.
After winning two consecutive games and five of its last eight outings, Utah was overwhelmed by an energetic Cleveland squad. As is usually the case, point guard and All-Star game MVP Kyrie Irving was the catalyst for the Cavs. He finished 21 points, a career-high 12 assists and 10 rebounds to notch his first-ever NBA triple-double.
In odd fashion, the Jazz connected on 14 shots inside the 3-point arc and 14 outside it. While it only took 29 3-point attempts (a torrid 48.3 percent), it unfortunately required 51 field goal tries (a paltry 27.5 percent). Utah struggled mightily inside.
While Utah darted out to a 27-20 first-quarter lead, Cleveland took over from there, winning the three final quarters.
Board dominance: Even though center Anderson Varajao and his team-leading 10.3 rebounds per game were missing, Cleveland had full control of the boards. Recent acquisition Spencer Hawes corralled 16 rebounds, followed up by forward Tristan Thompson’s 14 and Irving’s aforementioned 10. With Tyler Zeller adding nine caroms off the bench, the Cavs completely dominated the rebounding battle, 56-31. Cleveland had 13 offensive boards to Utah’s six.
No one on the Jazz roster was able to grab more than Gordon Hayward’s seven rebounds.
This and that:
• Seven Utah players made at least one 3-pointer, with Hayward and Richard Jefferson each netting four treys.
• Cleveland’s starters outscored their Utah counterparts 73-48.
• The two teams shot a total of just 26 free throws. There also was a dearth of fast-point points, with the Cavs having eight to Utah’s three.
• After starting several games, Jazz big man Enes Kanter has seen just 35 total minutes the past two games.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.