The Utah Jazz haven’t won back-to-back games in more than two
weeks, but a very favorable schedule the rest of December should
provide a good opportunity to put together a significant winning
The Jazz look to improve to 11-1 against teams from the Eastern
Conference when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday
Utah (19-9) has split its last eight games following a
season-best seven-game winning streak. It bounced back from a
29-point loss at New Orleans a night earlier with a 95-86 victory
over Milwaukee on Saturday.
“We’re a resilient team,” said Deron Williams, who had 22 points
and 11 assists after being held to season lows of 10 and five by
the Hornets. “We took last night personal. It was an embarrassing
loss and we have to put forth a better effort tonight.”
It was the ninth time this season the Jazz overcame a
double-digit deficit. Utah outscored Milwaukee 52-40 in the second
half, outrebounding the Bucks 46-31 overall.
“When we set out to play defense and we play with that tenacity
on the defensive end, we’re a lot better team than when we don’t,”
It had to help facing a team from the East. The Jazz have won 10
of 11 against teams from the opposite conference, losing only to
Miami on Dec. 8. They are averaging 105.3 points in those 11 games
– nearly nine points higher than they do versus the West.
Williams and the Jazz now begin a favorable stretch against some
of the NBA’s weaker teams. They won’t face a club with a winning
record until hosting Atlanta on Jan. 5, playing seven straight
games against opponents with sub-.500 records.
Cleveland (8-19) snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 109-102
overtime win over New York on Saturday. The Cavaliers took their
first lead in the third quarter and forced overtime on Mo Williams’
basket with 3.7 seconds left.
Williams, who finished with 23 points and a season-high 14
assists, scored six of his team’s 16 points in the extra period.
Anderson Varejao had 14 points, a season-high 17 rebounds – 10
offensive – and four blocked shots.
“We get one more day to kind of enjoy this,” coach Byron Scott
said, “and then obviously we have another tough one Monday. Our
guys earned it, there’s no doubt about it. … Tonight, we kind of
reaped the benefits of our guys playing with that energy and that
effort that we talked about from day one.”
The Knicks were held to 41.1-percent shooting after Cleveland
allowed teams to shoot 50.6 percent during the losing streak.
The Cavaliers also won the battle of the boards for only the
second time in 11 games, outrebounding New York 56-47.
“Andy laid everything out there on the line and in my eyes, he
was the main reason why we were able to find a way to get it done
tonight,” Antawn Jamison said.
The Cavaliers are looking to win two straight for the first time
since a three-game winning streak Nov. 5-9. However, they are 1-6
against teams from the West, allowing 108.9 points in those
Utah has lost six straight in Cleveland since a 97-88 win March