In Luol Deng’s debut, the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a sluggish first half to win big and ultimately route the Utah Jazz by a score of 113-102. RDE’s Trevor Magnotti wrote the recap for last night’s win:
Luol Deng made his debut tonight for the Cavs against the Utah Jazz. However, he was by no means a focal point, as the Cavaliers stole the show with a 39-point third quarter, putting the Jazz away in Utah, 113-102. Kyrie had 25, 17 of which came in the third quarter, as the Cavs took their second blowout win in a row, and started off their five game West road swing off right by dismantling the Jazz.
- I get that the Jazz backcourt is thin, and they’re all pretty bad defensively, but what a game from the Cavs’ backcourt as a whole. We’ll talk about Kyrie shortly, but Dion Waiters had 17 off the bench, preying on Utah’s lack of an athletic wing to keep up with his driving ability. He also hit a few circus shots, and his defense was pretty good throughout the game, particularly in the second quarter, when the Cavs were struggling and Waiters kept a solid three-point threat in Brandon Rush quiet. C.J. Miles was the spark plug early for the Cavs, with 11 first quarter points and 17 for the game. He didn’t play much in the second half, as the Cavs decided to roll with Waiters while it was working, but his January torrent continues. Jarrett Jack also quietly had 12 points on 5-6 shooting and zero turnovers, which might be the most impressive performance from everyone in terms of sheer craziness.
- OH HELLO MR. IRVING. Kyrie’s stat line after one: five points, one rebound, three assists. His final stats? 25 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and five steals. His third quarter needs to go in the Hall of Uncle Drew with the Knicks game last year, the Brandon Knight crossover, the Team USA fast break, and the Toronto game-winner. Kyrie just could not be stopped. He was also very active on the defensive end, making life hell for Trey Burke, and keeping the Jazz from sustaining what little flow they had offensively. Again, Burke’s a rookie and his defensive abilities are…lacking. However, when Kyrie goes on one of those face-melting hot streaks, it’s a joy to watch.
All in all, it was a big night for the Cavaliers. The got a win on the first game of a key West Coast road trip and didn’t need Deng to do too much. Now let’s see if they build off it as they play the Kings on Sunday.
You can view full game highlights below, as well as Deng’s first post game interview as a member of the Cavaliers.