CLEVELAND (ABC4 Sports) – Rodney Hood and Alec Burks got the best of the Jazz in their reunion game in the first half.
But the second half belonged entirely to Utah.
Donovan Mitchell scored 18 points and the Jazz dominated the second half, sending the Cleveland Cavaliers to their eighth straight loss with a 117-91 victory on Friday night.
“We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy, so we just had to withstand the run,” said Mitchell, who made 7 of 12 shots. “I think our defense really turned up in the second half.”
The Jazz trailed by one at halftime, but outscored the Cavaliers 69-42 in the second half and built a 34-point late in the game. Utah placed eight players in double figures.
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, who was traded to Cleveland this season, scored 17 points in his first game against his former team. Hood, who played his first 3 1/2 seasons in Utah, scored all 12 of his points in the first half.
“In games like this, it’s always a weird one, obviously with Jae and Kyle on our team too,” said Dante Exum, who had 11 points and 7 assists. “But, once we settled in and got into the flow, we were able to settle down a bit and we were able to take this one.”
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.
Kyle 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.
“Guys made some shots,” said head coach Quin Snyder, whose team improved to 19-20 on the season. “It’s good to see the ball go in the basket, and I think they all felt that way in the second half. Ricky made a couple, Dante knocked one down in the first half, and Jae obviously has been shooting well.”
The Cavaliers opened the second quarter with a 14-2 run, sparked by 3-pointers from Rodney Hood, Alec Burks and Channing Frye, and led 45-36. Mitchell scored nine points in the final four minutes, including a 30-foot jumper and Utah trailed 49-48 at halftime.
The win was Utah’s first in Cleveland since a 109-100 victory on March 5, 2012. This was the largest margin of victory in Jazz history on the road in a game in which they trailed at halftime.
Cleveland (8-31) has the worst record in the NBA, with four of the losses in the streak coming by 20 or more points.