Mitchell, Jazz dominate Cavs in the second half, win 117-91
CLEVELAND (AP) — After the Utah Jazz handed Cleveland its latest blowout loss, the Cavaliers decided it was a time for a talk.
Coach Larry Drew referred to a lengthy postgame meeting with players as “pretty somber” following a 117-91 loss Friday night to the Jazz, who dominated the second half in sending Cleveland to its eighth straight loss.
Donovan Mitchell scored 18 points, leading eight players in double figures. Utah trailed by one at halftime, but outscored the Cavaliers 69-42 in the second half and built a 34-point lead late in the game.
“That was pretty dramatic,” Kyle Korver said of the second-half turnaround. “We were a little more aggressive in the second half and we made some better plays.”
Cleveland (8-31) has the worst record in the NBA, with four of the losses in the streak coming by 20 or more points.
Drew said he let the players do most of the talking and was pleased with what he heard. Tristan Thompson, a key part of the team that has reached the last four NBA Finals, thinks the meeting was productive.
“After a tough loss sometimes it’s good to get your emotions off your chest, and go home and look in the mirror and say, how can I be better for this team,” he said. “I’ve been around for a long time so I know how this stuff goes.”
Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. said the meeting wasn’t heated. Nance knows the Cavaliers need to play harder.
“Number one is effort,” he said. “Our first half was great. It’s been great. But in the second half we come out and lay an egg. I think it’s a lack of execution and heart.”
While the Cavaliers are searching for answers, the mood in the Utah locker room was far more upbeat.
“You can play hard and not always play well,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “When you compete and stay with it, things tend to turn out well.”
Jae Crowder, acquired from Cleveland last season, scored 16 points. Ricky Rubio, who was listed at questionable with a sore left foot, added 15 while Rudy Gobert had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Alec Burks scored 17 points and rookie Collin Sexton had 13 for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland led 64-61 midway through the third quarter, but Mitchell’s 3-pointer tied the game and began a 20-7 run to end the period.
Korver, acquired from Cleveland in November, was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all three shots. Crowder hit a 3-pointer and Utah led 81-71 going to the fourth quarter.
Utah’s blitz continued in the fourth on an assortment of 3-pointers and layups that sent fans heading to the exits early.
The Cavaliers have struggled all season. Tyronn Lue was fired as coach after four games and Cleveland began the season 0-6. All-Star forward Kevin Love had left foot surgery on Nov. 2, playing in only four games.
Love has been cleared to begin some basketball activities, but no timetable has been given for his return.
Jazz: Mitchell didn’t score until late in the second quarter on a drive to the basket. … Utah, making the second stop on its four-game road trip, won’t return home until Jan. 9 against Orlando.
Cavaliers: Sexton, taken with the No. 8 pick in the draft, turned 20 years old Friday. … G Patrick McCaw was given a turnover when his pass sailed close to teammate Jalen Jones, who was walking to the scorers table to check into the game.
The teams made two deals in 2018. Korver, who played on two NBA Finals in Cleveland, was dealt to Utah for Burks. The deal followed a trade in February that saw Hood join the Cavaliers for Crowder.
Korver, who played parts of three seasons with Cleveland, got a big ovation when his picture was shown on the scoreboard during a timeout. Hood had 12 points Friday night.
“It was like being back in practice with Rodney and A.B. out there,” Mitchell said. “That’s kind of what it felt like.”
Matthew Dellavedova missed the game with a sprained left foot. The backup guard, acquired from Milwaukee on Dec. 7, has provided a spark off the bench for the struggling team. Dellavedova is averaging 9.3 points and shooting 49 percent in 11 games.
Jazz: Visit Detroit on Saturday.
Cavaliers: Host New Orleans on Saturday.
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