Cavs cut down by Jazz 101-90

Published Dec. 20, 2010 8:33 p.m. ET


By Zac Jackson
FOX Sports Ohio
December 20, 2010

The Cavaliers actually played pretty well for much of Monday night's game. They still lost by 11 points.

That's life right now for the Cavs, especially against a Jazz team that's not only one of the NBA's best, but one the Cavaliers should watch very closely.

There are worse teams -- franchises, really -- to emulate, even if you discount the whole small-market thing. The Jazz played big Monday night, crashing the boards, dominating the paint and cashing in opportunities. Defensively they packed it in and let the Cavs fire away. When it counted, Deron Williams played like the elite point guard he is and helped push the game out of reach.

The final was 101-90. It probably wasn't that close.

"Every little mistake we made, we paid for with them getting a wide-open 3-pointer, a layup or a dunk," Cavs coach Byron Scott said.

The Cavs got a few open 3-pointers of their own, and Daniel Gibson made 7 of his 8 from beyond the arc en route to a career-best 29 points as part of the push to keep it close. But the Cavs were just 12-of-28 from the 3-line altogether and were always in chase mode. They trailed 49-44 at halftime despite shooting 52 percent from the field.

Overall, the Cavs were much better than they were in losing 10 in a row before beating the Knicks in overtime last weekend -- and any type of progress at this point is good. Scott said they "had the same effort" as they did in beating the Knicks but couldn't keep up with the sharp Utah offense.

"We're not there yet," he said.

Five Utah players scored in double figures, left by C.J. Miles' 22 off the bench. Raja Bell connected on 5 3-pointers on his way to 19 points, while Miles hit 4 3-pointers. Williams had 17 points and 10 assists.

The Jazz held a 44-34 rebounding edge and were dominant in the paint all night. Paul Millsap had 19 points and 7 rebounds. Al Jefferson had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Millsap got rolling in the third quarter as the Cavs went cold (7-of-24 shooting in the quarter) and the Jazz turned what had been a two-point game into a 76-64 advantage heading to the fourth. The Jazz turned Millsap rebounds and Jefferson blocks into chances to run, and Williams is as dangerous as anybody in the open floor. It's no coincidence Utah is 14-1 when scoring 100 points or more this season.

NOTES: It was win number 1,210 in the career of Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who ties Pat Riley for third all-time...The Jazz are traveling 4,297 miles on this four-game road trip. They got smoked in New Orleans, won in Milwaukee and Cleveland and play in Minnesota Wednesday...The Cavs' 12 3-pointers were a season-high...Mo Williams had his third-straight double-double with 16 points and 10 assists...The Cavs play in Atlanta Wednesday and return home Sunday to host Minnesota.