SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Gordon Hayward went blow for blow with LeBron James in the second half to help the Utah Jazz beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-92 on Tuesday night.
Hayward had 28 points and went back and forth with James during a decisive third quarter. James brought the Cavs back from a 15-point halftime deficit before Hayward drove the lead back to 14.
“He was great tonight,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said about Haywards. “I think that when you talk about where he is, it’s the consistent level, his level being so high consistently, is what’s separating him right now. He had big games last year at various times, but I think he’s up at that level more and for longer periods during the game.”
Hayward had 11 points while the Jazz used a 16-0 run midway through the quarter to lead 74-60. The Cavs had a 17-0 roll after halftime thanks an aggressive James and his 13 third-quarter points.
Hayward scored 28 points and went back and forth with the four-time MVP during a decisive third quarter. James brought the Cavs back from a 15-point halftime deficit before Hayward drove the lead back to 14.
Trey Lyles had eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter to help the Jazz hold on.
“Studying the film, doing some extra work before the games has helped me out, and after the games,” Hayward said. “Stuff that I didn’t used to do. The little things like that have definitely transferred over.
“Going over matchups, going over how guys defend, how teams defend, what I can do better from the last time we played them. Different things like that.”
James finished with 29 points and Kyrie Irving added 20 for the defending champs.
The Jazz led 56-41 at halftime after closing the second quarter on a 10-0 run highlighted by Hayward’s alley-oop and 3-pointers from George Hill and Rodney Hood. Utah dominated the second quarter 27-12 while shooting 50 percent in the first half. Cleveland’s 12 points were a team season-low for a quarter
“When we got down so much, we had to play so hard to come back,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, adding “we used so much energy in the third quarter. We should have started the game that way.”
Utah next hosts Detroit on Friday.