Cleveland (28-8) at Utah (23-16)
When: Tuesday, January 10th 2017
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 9:05 ET | TV: FSN Ohio, ROOT Utah
The Cleveland Cavaliers will play the second of a six-game road trip on Tuesday night as they visit the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Cleveland started the road trip by building a 20-point second half lead before hanging on for a 120-116 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Head coach Tyronn Lue said his team “messed around” after playing the right way to build the big lead while star LeBron James chose to view it as the type of thing that happens during an 82-game season. New acquisition Kyle Korver was unable to practice with Cleveland on Monday because swingman Mike Dunleavy still hasn’t reported to Atlanta as part of the trade. Speculation is that Dunleavy may report by Tuesday afternoon and if he does do so and passes his physical, the trade will become official and Korver will be able to play with his new teammates. Korver was acquired to boost the Cavaliers 3-point shooting as the team has been missing an outside threat since J.R. Smith suffered a broken thumb. Point guard Kyrie Irving appears to have his hamstring issues in his rear-view mirror as he’s averaged 29.5 points over the last two games. Cleveland will travel to Portland to battle the Blazers on Wednesday night.
The Jazz come home after a 2-3 road trip that ended in an 88-79 loss at Memphis on Sunday. The Jazz are beginning a three-game homestand as part of a home-heavy stretch in which they play nine of 12 in Salt Lake City. The Jazz prides itself as the top defensive team in the league allowing only 95.0 points a game and holding opponents to just 43.1% shooting. On the other end, they are ranked 28th in scoring despite being ranked 8th in both field goal and 3-point percentage. Center Rudy Gobert is now fifth in the NBA in rebounding (12.2) and has recorded 13 or more in each of the past seven games while setting a franchise mark of 24 consecutive double-digit outings. The 7’1″ Gobert also has three or more blocked shots in four of the past six games and leads the NBA with a total of 100. Gobert has an outside chance of making the Western Conference All-Star team but it appears small forward Gordon Hayward (averaging 22 points) has the better chance of representing the Jazz. Utah has dropped five of the last seven meetings with Cleveland, but have covered the spread in three of the last four.
Utah has the kind of defense that can slow down the Cavs and as we know, everyone plays their best against Cleveland especially at home. I’m going to take a shot with the home dog in this contest.
Pick: Jazz +3