Jazz Stun The Cavaliers In Win; 100-92

January 10th, 2017 | by Spencer Wixom

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James hasn’t won in Utah since 2010, and that streak continued as the Utah Jazz and their tough defense shut down the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Cavaliers have the fifth-best offense in the league with an offensive rating of 110.5, and the Jazz held them to a 95.9 tonight while limiting them to 92 points.

The Jazz and Cavaliers traded baskets in the first quarter but were carried by Gordon Hayward’s ten points.  In the end, both teams were looking at a tied score of 29 points.

The second quarter was a different story as Jazz clamped down on defense and only allowed the Cavaliers to score 12 points.  Rudy Gobert was a force defensively and even made players seem hesitant to drive to the basket at times.  Joe Ingles also came in and played very good defense on the wing and was the man guarding James throughout key stretches of the game.

James and the Cavs opened the second half with a 19-2 run, erasing the Jazz’s lead.  James hit 3-for-3 from downtown in that stretch and it began to look like the game was slipping away from the Jazz.  However, Hayward answered with eight straight points.

As the game began to get close in the fourth the Ingles played fantastic defense on James and held him to just six points.  Hayward and Hood stepped up and hit big shots to close out the game as the Jazz beat the Cavs and James once again.

Three Major Takeaways 

1.  A Healthy Jazz Team Is A Great Jazz Team

The Jazz are finally getting healthy and the finished product looks pretty good.  They just proved that they can hang with anyone in the league by beating the defending champions and should only get better as they get more minutes to gel together.  This game shows how potent they can be, especially if they can get home court advantage for a matchup in the playoffs.  The Jazz will be looking to fight with the Clipper, Rockets, and Grizzlies down the stretch to steal on of the top four seeds in the West.

2.  Derrick Favor Is Looking Like Derrick Favors

For the first time this year, Favors appeared to be getting back to his former self.  He only played 25 minutes, due to his minute restriction, but posted 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal.  He seemed less winded and stronger than we have seen him in prior games.  With Favors being out for so long, it is easy to forget that when he is healthy he is the second or third best player on this team.  Getting Favors back to form to make a run down the stretch will be huge for this Jazz team and help vault them to another level as they have lacked production at the power forward position all year.

3.  Gordon Hayward Deserves To Be An All-Star

The simple fact of the matter is that Hayward is playing like one of the best 24 players in the league.  Every single night the opposing teams scouting report starts with trying to stop Hayward, yet he is leading this team to the playoffs while averaging 22.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.  It is time for his talents to be recognized with a ticket to New Orleans.

Game MVP

Gordon Hayward

28 Points, 9 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 10-12 FG, 4-5 3P, +7

Hayward was brilliant tonight on the offensive end as the Cavs has no answer for him.  They tried putting multiple defenders on him, including LeBron, but he dropped 28 points on 10-12 shooting.  You can watch his highlights below.

Play Of The Game


Playoff Impact

FiveThirtyEight.com gave the Jazz a 60% chance to win this game before it started and consequentially had the Jazz projected to be the fourth seed in the West with 50 wins.  The win didn’t change the needle on their projections for the Jazz win totals because they already had them winning this game. However, this is a big game because it shows all teams that the Jazz can beat anyone at home.

Spencer Wixom

Spencer Wixom

Spencer graduated from the University of Utah and works in commercial real estate. Since the first time he saw Stockton dish to Malone, Spencer has had a passion for the Utah Jazz and the NBA. When he isn’t writing about the Jazz, Spencer spends time with his wife and daughter and cheers for the Seattle Seahawks.
Spencer Wixom
Spencer Wixom

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