After a sluggish and disheartening first half that saw the Cleveland Cavaliers fall behind the Utah Jazz in Luol Deng’s debut, the Wine & Gold rebounded nicely in the second half to say the least. Behind a huge scoring outburst from Kyrie Irving and continued stellar shooting from swingman C.J. Miles, Cleveland pulled away from Utah minute by minute and found themselves up by as much as 20 down the stretch. And when the horn sounded at the end of four quarters, the Cavaliers were the victors by a score of 113-102. Irving lead all scorers with 25 points, while Deng added 10 in his debut. Richard Jefferson paced the Jazz with 18. The “W’ was the Cavaliers second blowout win this week and 13th overall.
KEY PLAY TO THE GAME
It was more than a key play tonight – it was a key quarter. At times this season, the Cavaliers have found themselves victim to losing games that they could have one because of one quarter where they are blown out (see the first Miami game and the second Indiana game as examples). Tonight, they flipped the script and utterly dominated the third quarter behind some great play from Irving. In the third, the Cavaliers outscored the Jazz 39-21 – an 18 point differential. For the rest of the three quarters, Utah outscored the Wine & Gold 81-74. That’s a key stretch of the play if one exists and it was nice to see the Cavaliers play that type of basketball themselves.
WINE AND GOLD MVP
Tonight’s Wine & Gold MVP goes to Irving for his sensation second half that helped seal the win. Tonight, Irving had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of game; In the first, he was kind of dreadful and couldn’t really get into a rhythm offensively. In the second half, he was much better and just abused Trey Burke when the two were matched up. He used some nice veteran moves on the rookie – namely using a rip move to draw a quick foul and get to the line. His play in the second half was what carried this team tonight and put them over the top after C.J. Miles kept the Cavaliers flowing early on. Again, Irving answered the call big time tonight and he deserves praise for doing so.
Byron Scott’s like “I had to start Jawad Williams.”
— WayneEmbrysKids (@WayneEmbrysKids) January 11, 2014
— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) January 11, 2014
That was quick and easy… I didn’t know one quick cut could get you an easy basket.
— realcavsfans.com (@realcavsfans) January 11, 2014
Jarrett Jack just stiff-armed JLIII and picked up an And-1. He sucks so much but then does fun stuff like this and I can’t not love him
— Trevor Magnotti (@Tmagnotti) January 11, 2014
DON’T REACH YOUNGBLOOD
— WayneEmbrysKids (@WayneEmbrysKids) January 11, 2014
@Tmagnotti Luckily they don’t often look very crisp no matter what
— Carter Rodriguez (@Carter_Shade) January 11, 2014
yep, Kyrie kind of went off. 17 pts in 3rd Q RT @haralabob: Everyone watching Heat@Nets missed Kyrie have a pretty sick last 5 minutes.
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) January 11, 2014
Luol Deng, coming back from Achilles injury in Dec, was on a 30-minute restriction tonight for #Cavs. He played 21, probably done for night
— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) January 11, 2014
Deng never played less than 28 minutes in any game for the Bulls this season. He’ll end tonight (barring something weird) at 21
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) January 11, 2014
Is it okay to be happy now? #Cavs
— Joseph Mastrantoni (@DCFJoe) January 11, 2014
COACH BROWN BREAKDOWN
When a team blows out their opponent like the Cavaliers blew out theirs tonight, it’s hard to find flaws in how coach lead his roster. And all in all, Brown did a very good job tonight in getting the Cavaliers on the right path. While it was not known right away that Deng was on a minutes restriction, he kept him far below his limit and didn’t try and force Deng to carry the load on his first night as a Cavalier. He also made the correct tactical decision of running the three-guard lineups often in the second half after Earl Clark did Earl Clark things in the first half.
However, when the Cavaliers got up huge late, I would have liked to have seen Brown empty the bench and play some the youngsters currently toiling on the end of the bench. That obviously starts with Anthony Bennett – who played a whopping 55.6 seconds tonight – but it also applies to Sergey Karasev and maybe even Carrick Felix. Still, that’s which a small concern and overall, Brown did an excellent job of getting the Cavaliers on the right path as they start their road trip.
The Cavaliers will continue on their West Coast trip from here, traveling to Sacramento next to take on the Kings this Sunday. Tip-off is at 6 PM from Sleepy Train Arena and, considering some of the defensive issues the Kings currently have, it’s a golden opportunity for the Cavaliers to continue on their winning ways. It will also be interesting to see how many minutes Luol Deng gets and whether or not he plays more than 21 minutes. For a player that played heavy minutes in Chicago no matter the circumstances, it must have been odd to play so little. Also, we can watch Irving do nasty things to Isaiah Thomas. Just google “Kyrie Irving Isaiah Thomas comparison” and you’ll find a video. Watch it and then know why that is so exciting for Cavaliers fans.
Also, Boogie Cousins plays for the Kings and I really wish Boogie Cousins played center for the Cavs.