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Jordan Clarkson overshadows Donovan Mitchell’s homecoming, powers Utah over Cleveland, 116-114


PhilBoxing.com




The crowd and the entire Jazz team at Vivint Arena made sure Donovan Mitchell felt their appreciation for services rendered with long, thunderous standing ovations before and after another brilliant performance. Also known in the NBA as ‘Spida’ due to his uncanny ability to steal and score with his long, spindly arms, Mitchell dropped 46 points with 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and almost single-handedly got the win for Cleveland against his former team.

The 3-time all-star, 2017 first-round draft pick (13-th overall), and current Cavaliers’ star shooting guard spent his first 5 years with the Jazz before being traded to Cleveland in a blockbuster deal last September.

Both teams seem to be enjoying the effects of that tremendous swap, with Utah landing the 7-foot Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029), two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) to the Utah Jazz for Mitchell.

Mitchell has already posted 40 points for the second time in five games, setting a record 71 points back on January 2– the most by an NBA player in 17 years, as the Cavaliers beat Chicago in overtime.

It was a seesaw battle that featured the Jazz leading by double-figures up until the third quarter before the Cavs took their turn and carried a 7-point lead into the fourth quarter, by way of a 10-0 run by Mitchell who made 3 straight baskets.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Cleveland climbed out of a 13-point deficit and went up 101-94 as Utah missed their initial 13-of-14 shots.

However, Filipino-American star Jordan Clarkson had Cleveland’s number as he scored 32 points, five of which were 3-pointers, and sank 9 straight points on a 13-0 run in the last 5 minutes.

With 23.1 seconds left, Clarkson ignited with 9 consecutive points to give Utah the lead, 115-107, then powering the Jazz past the Cavaliers, 116-114, Tuesday night.

Lauri “The Finnisher” Markkanen added 25 points and 16 rebounds against his former team. Malik Beasley, Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 13 points each pushing Utah to a much-needed win, only their second victory in the last 9 games.

Utah, as a team, made 38-of-87 buckets (43.7% FG), sank 10-of-36 treys (27.8% 3-PT), controlled both boards with more rebounds (54 to 37), scored more points after turnovers (22 to 14) despite having significantly more turnovers (16 to 5), and shared the ball more with more assists (21 to 18). Utah led by as much as 13 points.



By contrast, Cleveland, as a team, made 42-of-90 baskets (46.7% FG), converted 10-of-37 treys (27% 3-PT), had more steals (7 to 3), more blocks (7 to 3), controlled the paint and scored more at close quarters (54 to 48), had set a dizzying pace with more fast break points (17 to 2), and led by as much as 7 points.

In a spirited effort that fell short, Darius Garland added 21, Evan Mobley 13, Caris LeVert 12, Lamar Stevens 11, Kevin Love 6, Isaac Okoro 4, Raul Neto 2 points for the Cavs.

It was a game played by two teams hungry for postseason consideration— the Jazz itching for a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament and the the Cavs, the NBA’s top defensive team, vying as top contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Said Jordan Clarkson on NBA.com about his last quarter heroics : “I was just being aggressive in those moments…Throughout the game, I saw what they were doing defensively and just started being aggressive in the fourth.”



Upcoming:

Utah Jazz (21-23): Host the Orlando Magic (16-26) on Friday.

Cleveland Cavaliers (26-16): Visit the Portland Trail Blazers (19-21) on Thursday.

Note of Appreciation:

Photos, stats and video are courtesy of the NBA and brought to you by PhilBoxing.com.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.


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