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Irving leads Cavs over Jazz

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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CLEVELAND — There was a lot of love for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving on Friday.

In the midst of recording his first career triple-double, an overzealous fan ran onto the court with 6:20 remaining in the Cavaliers’ 99-79 victory over the Utah Jazz before 18,601 at Quicken Loans Arena.

“He came out and told me he loved me,” Irving said. “I told him, ‘I love you, too, bro.’ “

The fan was immediately tackled by arena security and arrested.

Irving finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

Jazz guard Gordon Hayward fired in 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.

Forward Richard Jefferson added 13 points and guard Alec Burks had 11.

“I’m excited for Kyrie,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. “For him to go out there and get his first triple-double, that was fun to watch. That was well-earned and well-deserved. I’m fired up for him, the organization and the city.”

Brown said he never mentioned to Irving that he was getting close to the milestone.

“He pointed it out to me that he’s close,” he said. “I said, ‘If that’s the case, then rebound quickly.’ Fifteen-and-a-half minutes later, he got his 10th rebound.”

Irving set a career high in rebounds and matched his career high in assists.

“He’s a great player,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He showed why he is who he is in this league.”

The Cavaliers (24-36), winners of two in a row and eight of 11, pulled within 3 1/2 games of idle Atlanta (26-31) for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Forwards Luol Deng and Tristan Thompson each had 16 points for the Cavaliers. Thompson pulled down 12 rebounds for his 29th double-double of the season.

Center Spencer Hawes finished with 13 points and matched his season high with 16 rebounds.

The Cavaliers dominated the Jazz on the boards, 56-31, including a 13-6 edge on the offensive glass.

“That was a big point of emphasis tonight,” Hawes said. “They have a big, physical front line.”

Brown said the total destruction on the boards was a “testament” on how hard the Cavaliers played.

The Cavaliers limited the Jazz to 35 percent shooting from the field.

“The Cavs were the aggressive team,” Corbin said. “We couldn’t match their intensity on the defensive end.”

The Cavaliers blasted the Jazz in the fourth quarter, 30-19. In their last two games, they’ve outscored the opposition in the fourth, 72-47.

“Our pace picked up in the second half,” Irving said. “We were a step quicker. With me and (Jarrett) Jack running the show, we were executing on both ends of the floor.”

The Cavs finished the month of February with an 8-6 record.

“Every little thing is a victory for us,” Brown said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a winning month. It’s a nice milestone. It continues to give us confidence.”

The point guard matchup was a mismatch. Jazz rookie Trey Burke had just four points and five rebounds.

“Every night you have to be able to compete,” Burke said. “That other guard is going to come at you just like you’re going to come at him. You have to be ready to compete.”

NOTES: With mounting injuries to the Cavaliers’ backcourt, All-Star PG Kyrie Irving’s minutes have soared. He’s averaged 44 minutes in the previous two games. “I’m 21,” he said. “I’m using my youth to my advantage. I’m getting used to that every day grind.” … Cavs F Anthony Bennett (soreness in left knee), C Anderson Varejao (sore back/general soreness), G Dion Waiters (hyperextended left knee) and G/F C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle) all missed the Utah game. Bennett will travel with the team to Memphis after the game. He’ll be a game-time decision against the Grizzlies on March 1. None of the other three players will make the trip. … Cleveland State fans were well aware of Jazz G Gordon Hayward from his days in the Horizon League with the Butler Bulldogs. He has taken his all-around game to the NBA with the Utah Jazz. Hayward finished the month of January averaging 20.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists. “He’s long, athletic, can shoot it and handle it,” Brown said. “He plays so hard. He’s a formidable weapon.” … Warriors coach Tyrone Corbin wants Jazz G Trey Burke to keep his emotions in check for tonight’s game. He grew up in Columbus. “I want him to calm down and play the game,” Corbin said.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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