Utah Jazz (12-25) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (12-23)
Tip Off @ 7:00 p.m. MST
The Jazz are coming into tonight after an amazing victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. Gordon Hayward had a career night, scoring a career high 37 points on 13-16 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and 7 assists. The Jazz showed they are learning slowly but surely to finish games. The Jazz had a lead on the Thunder as large as 24 points in the 3rd quarter. The Thunder fought back to within 5 points in the 4th, but the Jazz were able to take control in the final minutes and win the game. The win was the 4th in a row at home for the Jazz. They will be going for 5 in a row tonight against the new look Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers finally got rid of their baggage in Andrew Bynum. The center that seems to be causing problems wherever he goes lately was traded to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for All-Star forward Luol Deng and draft picks. Bynum was quickly waived from the Bulls roster for a financial savings move. Deng is expected to make his first appearance with the Cavaliers tonight against the Jazz. Deng, in his 9th season, is averaging career best numbers. Deng is averaging 19.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on the season.
Key Matchup : Trey Burke vs Kyrie Irving
This is probably going to happen a lot this season for Trey, and it already has. Trey will be going up against elite point guards almost every night. Tonight is no different, as this might be one of his toughest matchups of the season. Kyrie Irving is incredible! If you haven’t seen this video of him that has been surfacing on the internet of Irving’s ball handling skills, you need to see this.
Irving is having a great season. He is averaging 22.0 points and 6.1 assists per game this season. However, as well as he has been playing, the Cavaliers are still not quite finding ways to win. However, the Cavaliers have split their last 4 games.
Trey, as everyone knows, has been the biggest reason for the Jazz turnaround this season. Trey is averaging 13.2 points and 5.2 assists per game on the season. One aspect of Trey’s game that has been fantastic this season, is his ability to not turn the ball over. His assist to turnover ratio is 2.8 to 1. His ratio is better than Kyrie’s ratio, as Kyrie is at 2.1 to 1.
Trey has upped all his averages at home this season. At home, Trey is averaging 15.5 points and 5.5 assists per game. On the road, Kyrie drops his averages slightly to 19.2 points and only 4.6 assists per game. This will be a really tough matchup for Trey, but if he really is going to win Rookie of the Year, he is going to need to prove himself against a guy who has won the award himself.
As mentioned before, tonight will be Luol Deng’s first game as a Cleveland Cavalier. That could work in the Jazz’s favor as he might not have grasped the Cavaliers offensive and defensive schemes quite yet. However, Deng has played fantastic against the Jazz this season. Deng played 2 games against the Jazz this season already when he was with the Bulls. In the first game, a 97-73 Bulls win, Deng ate the Jazz up with a near triple-double. Deng finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists before he was subbed out. In the 2nd game, a 89-83 Jazz win, Deng almost beat the Jazz on his own but couldn’t quite pull it out as he finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cavaliers are going to have a rough time getting a win in Utah though. They have lost 4 straight and 6 out of the last 7. All time the Cavaliers are 7-27 playing in Utah. The Jazz enter tonight playing really good basketball at home. The Jazz are now 7-10 at home. Both teams are young ball clubs looking to try and learn how to win. With the way the Jazz are playing at home right now, and with the Cavaliers making a trade and might not having a chemistry yet, I think the Jazz will take this game. If they are looking for a winning record in this 3 game home stand, they will need to get it tonight because their 3rd game will be a lot tougher.
Jazz 104, Cavaliers 91