The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to finish their road trip with an undefeated record as they take on the Utah Jazz. The Jazz have a great defense now that both Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors are healthy, and have a strong home court advantage with the elevation. It should prove to be a good test for the Cavs at the end of their road trip.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (47-18) at Utah Jazz (31-35)
When? 10:30 PM
Where? Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City Utah
Where on my eyeballs? ESPN
Enemy blog: SLC Dunk
The Utah Jazz have had a little bit of a disappointing season as they were hoping this would be the year that they break through and make the playoffs. While they still are within range of the playoffs, they're two games back and have half of their remaining games against teams with an above .500 record. A combination of injuries and lack of point guard play has them on the outside looking in.
The Jazz have the potential to cause some troubles for the Cavs as they have the ability to limit Kevin Love in the post and deter shots at the rim for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Gordon Haywood is also one of the more under-appreciated small forwards in the league, with his ability to score inside and outside, defense, playmaking and rebounding. He's a very complete player that's given the Cavs troubles in the past.
While the Jazz big men are strong defensively, this game might be a great opportunity for the Cavs to use Kevin Love at center. Rudy Gobert's rim protection is great, but his pick and roll defense is not. Dragging him away from the basket using Love and Irving could help to create some opportunities and expose the defensive weakness of Trey Burke.
The difference in this game will likely come down to depth. Even though the Cavs are at the end of a road trip, the starters didn't have to play tons of minutes in the blowout of the Clippers. Also going from a matinee game to a late start in Utah, they should be relatively fresh. The Jazz aren't able to match the depth of the Cavs, so while they have a lot of quality starters, they can't play the whole game.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I think Cleveland is able to make things uncomfortable for Utah's defense and the bench continues to give them the boost that they've provided throughout this road trip. Cavs win 105-96.