Cavaliers-Jazz Preview

The Utah Jazz are ready to get back to work after a lengthy

layoff.

The Jazz will try to slow down Kyrie Irving and the lowly

Cleveland Cavaliers, who are wrapping up a five-game road trip

Saturday night.

Utah (21-19) has not played since a 104-97 victory over Miami on

Monday. Coach Tyrone Corbin gave the Jazz the next two days off

before they returned to practice Thursday.

“It was good while it lasted,” top scorer Al Jefferson said.

The Jazz are one of three teams to play a league-low 16 home

games to this point. The contest with the Heat began a stretch of

10 of 12 at home for Utah.

“I think we’re not exactly where we want to be but we’re in the

range of being in position to get ourselves in the playoffs, and to

take a good run here with this homestand that we have, we’ll put

ourselves in a good position,” Corbin said.

Another team that has played 16 at home is Cleveland (10-31),

which ended a three-game slide with Wednesday’s 93-88 victory at

Portland. Irving bounced back from consecutive 15-point efforts to

score 31 as he outdueled rookie point guard Damian Lillard.

“When he’s aggressive, he’s pushing the ball and he’s in attack

mode,” coach Byron Scott said of Irving. “I think our guys feed

off of that.”

Irving averaged 21.0 points on 51.5 percent shooting as a rookie

last season in two defeats to the Jazz, who have won five straight

in this series.

Former Cavs All-Star point guard Mo Williams is out for Utah

following thumb surgery. Jamaal Tinsley has started in his place

the last 12 games, with the Jazz winning seven times.

Jefferson, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds against the Heat

for his third straight double-double, insists that Utah won’t

overlook Cleveland.

“We’ve got to be ready to play, we’ve got to treat them just

like we treated the defending champs,” Jefferson said. “Go out

there with that (same) kind of mindset and that kind of confidence

because that’s the worst to lose a game that you’re supposed to

win.”

The Jazz will see a familiar face when C.J. Miles returns to

face his former team for the first time. A second-round pick by

Utah in 2005, Miles spent his first seven seasons with the club

before signing with Cleveland in the offseason.

Paul Millsap, the Jazz’s second-leading scorer, was a

second-round pick the year after Miles – who has started his last

eight games for the Cavs.

“We still keep in touch a lot,” Millsap said. “I’m happy to see

him do well out there. Hopefully he can continue to do it, just not

Saturday.”

The Cavs know they are rebuilding with two second-year players

and a rookie in their starting lineup with the injured Anderson

Varejao out. In addition, rookie second-leading scorer Dion Waiters

has been coming off the bench lately.

“All these losses that we’ve accumulated this year and the

heartaches that we’ve had are going to make us a better basketball

team in the future, and I truly believe that,” Scott said. “But you

have to go through this process.”