Cavaliers comeback thwarted in 109-108 loss to Utah
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - When the Cleveland Cavaliers trailed the Utah Jazz by 15 points early in the fourth quarter, it looked like Utah was poised to pull away from the youthful Cavaliers. As has been the case throughout the early part of this season, though, the Cavs wouldn’t go down without a fight.
After back-to-back three-pointers from Jazz guards Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley, Cleveland trailed 97-82 with 11:05 remaining in the game. However, the scrappy Cavs battled back, immediately putting together a 15-0 run to tie the game at 97 less than three minutes later.
Both teams sank several huge shots down the stretch, up to the point that the Cavs had the ball trailing 109-108 with 17 seconds to play. A bucket could have won it for Cleveland, but Cavs point guard Darius Garland missed a three-pointer with two seconds to play. An Evan Mobley tip in attempt didn’t fall, the clock ran out and the Cavs fell to the Jazz by a single point in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
“We put the ball in Darius’ hands,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I’ve got full trust in him and his ability to create a shot. If we had it over again, I’d do the same thing, put the ball in his hands and let him make a play.”
The loss snapped Cleveland’s four-game winning streak, and despite Garland missing the game-winning shot, he was spectacular the entire afternoon, finishing with a team-high 31 points to go along with four rebounds and five assists.
“That was a tough game,” Cavs forward Cedi Osman said. “We played great, we did our best, we came back. At the end, we had a great shot. DG was playing great all night, I thought that was going in.”
Four other Cavaliers reached double-figures in scoring, including Jarrett Allen, who totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds. It Allen’s seventh straight double-double, which is the longest streak of consecutive double-doubles in his career.
The Jazz (16-7) gutted out the victory behind making 20-of-48 three-point attempts and the spectacular play of superstar guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell sank four of the 20 Jazz three-pointers and finished with 35 points and six assists. Bojan Bogdanovic chipped-in 16 points for Utah, while Rudy Gay added 15 points and eight rebounds.
Entering the contest, the Cavs (13-11) had held opponents under 40 percent from the three-point line in 13 consecutive games, which was the longest active streak in the NBA and tied for the second longest in franchise history. The Jazz snapped that streak by shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc against Cleveland in the first of two matchups between the two teams this season.
Forty-eight three-point attempts may seem like a lot, but Utah began the game averaging a league-high 42 attempts from beyond the three-point line.
“What we needed to do was a better job of limiting some of the shots they were getting,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s where our downfall was. You allow a team to get up 48 threes, make 20 of them, they’re going to be hard to beat. Give them credit, they’re a really good team.”
There’s no shame in losing to a Jazz team that entered the day with the third-best record in the Western Conference riding, a three-game winning streak.
“Obviously, they are a really good team,” Bickerstaff said. “They play at a great tempo, but they play with great spacing as well. They got so many guys who they play who can shoot the ball from three, and then they got their big guys who patrol the middle both offensively and defensively, so they make it difficult on you.”
The Jazz led 60-55 after a back-and-forth first half that saw 10 lead changes and nine ties. Mitchell had 18 points in the first half, but Garland nearly matched him with 14 points through the first two quarters.
The Cavs will attempt to get back in the win column in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Monday.
POSTED 12/05/2021 18:46