Things didn’t go so well when the Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Cavs lost that contest 100-92 and the loss started their agonizing January slide. The team now looks to return serve as they host the Jazz before embarking on a Western Conference road trip.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (44-22) vs Utah Jazz (43-25)
When? 7:00 PM
Where? Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio.
Where on my eyeballs? NBA TV
Kyle Korver is expected to return against the Jazz on Thursday after sitting out to nurse a sore ankle. Korver’s first game with the Cavaliers was against the Jazz in January. Even come off an injury we are likely to see a much more effective and well integrated Korver than we did the first time these teams met.
While Kevin Love participated in practice on Wednesday, he is not expected to play until later on this weekend. The upcoming schedule is very road heavy and not exactly a cakewalk, So getting a quality win Thursday night could help the team maintain momentum and carry them to a successful road trip.
The Cavs struggled to score last time these teams met. The Jazz’s stout defense held the team to 36.5 percent shooting. The Cavs won the battle on the offensive boards and had fewer turnovers, but could translate that to consistent points on the other end.
Not having Love will once again make things more difficult for the Cavs on both ends. The Jazz are the third best rebounding team in the league, meaning the shorthanded Cavs could be at a disadvantage if they don’t dedicate themselves to the boards.
Utah’s offense is good, but not great. The Cavs simply cannot allow them to receive extra possessions on the glass, otherwise they will be able to narrow the gap in offensive firepower.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction:
I think this will be a fairly hard fought game. The Jazz are a bad matchup for the Cavs without Love and have a lot of tools to make this a long evening. They have multiple defenders to throw at LeBron James and George Hill has the length to make Kyrie Irving work. If the Cavs shoot like they did against Detroit, that won’t be a problem. However, that seems unlikely. Cavs win a close one, 102-97.