Vivint Smart Home Arena, formerly EnergySolutions Arena, has been the kryptonite of the Cavaliers for numerous years.
It seems like it all started after Sundiata Gaines got called up from the D-League in 2010 and drained the game-winning shot over Anthony Parker. That was followed by Gordon Hayward hitting another winner in 2014 in almost the same spot!
I still think if LeBron James wasn’t tripped, he gets a hand in the face of Hayward and he would of missed it.
They lost on Tuesday, but it wasn’t by a game winner, it was because of bad basketball. The Cavaliers couldn’t get out of their own way. They were out of sync from the beginning of the game to the end.
In the first half, the Cavaliers had 10 turnovers; James had four by himself. The fluid ball movement that Cavs fans have seen from the team wasn’t there, nor has it been in the last few games.
Cavs already up to 12 turnovers. And Ty thought 20 TOs Sunday was bad
They were taking wild shots and the Jazz capitalized off the turnovers and scored. However, the biggest issue was on the defensive side of the ball.
The Jazz exploited every mismatch with the Cavs. One play had Kyrie Irving switched onto Joe Ingles –who is fourth in the NBA in three-point percentage at 45.1, while Kevin Love was one-on-one with George Hill, who hit a contested three-point shot.
The worst I saw was when Rudy Gobert set the pick-and-roll with Hill and Tristan Thompson ended up guarding Hill, which led to an easy three-pointer. The Jazz went 13-for-34 from long-range.
They were switching everything under the defense and the Cavaliers had no answer for it. Gobert dominated the game on both ends of the floor. His length, along with developing a solid offensive game is something to watch.
If not for Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, he would have all the spotlight on him. He’s a blocking machine and can run the floor well for his size. He will be a name that NBA fans will be hearing a lot as his career continues.
As for the Cavs, everything in the game was one-on-one with them. I didn’t see any players cutting, or making any plays off the ball. It was all failed three-point attempts or contested shots at the basket.
Utah is a very well constructed team. Everybody they throw out there can play.
That’s why I despise the team converting into a three-point shooting club. “You live by the three, you die by the three.” Now if they had a balanced attack, the results might have been different.
It also didn’t help that the Jazz are the best defensive team in the NBA this season. According to ESPN.com, they lead the league in total defense only allowing opposition to score 95 points per game.
Kyle Korver made his debut and, as expected, he struggled. He didn’t have a chance to practice with the team at all due to Mike Dunleavy being undecided on his situation with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
He went 1-for-5, and 0-for-2 from long-range, in 18 minutes. He showed some of what he’s going to bring to the team by playing off the ball and constantly moving around the court to get open.
He was trying to do some of that on Tuesday, but the Cavaliers were standing around and taking bad shots.
All he’ll need is a second and the ball is already in the basket.
I think we’ve all seen enough of Iman Shumpert as well. He had a hot start in the beginning of the season, but has fallen back into his inconsistent ways. He’s missing wide open three-point attempts and he’s been a turnover machine.
He was supposed to step up in the absence of J.R. Smith, but has struggled.
It’s fascinating to me that when the Cavs did that trade with the New York Knicks a few years ago, Shumpert was who the trade was based around and Smith was a throw-in.
Since then, Smith has been the more valuable player, while Shumpert has been inconsistent and mediocre. If he were to get traded before or by the deadline, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
The Cavaliers will have another tough challenge in a place they struggle to win at in Portland against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.