Donovan Mitchell leads Cavs past his former team Jazz
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points to lead the host Cleveland Cavaliers to a 122-99 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday night in his first game against his former team.
Hours after being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Mitchell hit 8 of 12 shots, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc, in only 23 minutes. He scored 11 points and nailed three 3-pointers in the first six minutes to help the Cavaliers establish control early.
Jarrett Allen added 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Darius Garland contributed 17 points and eight assists as Cleveland won its fourth straight game. Cedi Osman chipped in 22 points, and seven Cavaliers scored at least 12, including all five starters.
Lauri Markkanen led Utah with 24 points and six rebounds in his return to Cleveland, where he played one season. The Finnish big man was a key acquisition for the Jazz — along with three first-round draft picks — in a massive trade for Mitchell, who played his first five NBA seasons in Utah.
Collin Sexton (hamstring), also part of the deal, didn’t see action, while rookie Ochai Agbaji, picked 14th overall by Cleveland, saw time at the end of the blowout.
The Jazz, who have lost both of their games so far on a three-game Eastern trip, played without starting forward Kelly Olynyk, who was ruled out with an ankle injury.
Markkanen hit three free throws to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 35-28 in the second quarter, but Caris LeVert ignited Cleveland’s 10-0 run with a 3-pointer and an assist for an Evan Mobley dunk.
The way Donovan Mitchell crawls through webs of defenders is special.
— NBA (@NBA) December 20, 2022
Mitchell started the scoring off with a bucket and then followed a Jordan Clarkson 3-pointer with a trey of his own to give the Cavaliers the lead at 5-3. Clarkson ended with 23 points.
Mitchell scored 11 of Cleveland’s first 19 points, including three treys, and spearheaded a 7-0 run that gave the Cavs a quick nine-point lead.
Utah opened the second half by scoring eight straight to make it a 10-point game, but the spurt ended after Isaac Okoro and Mitchell drained back-to-back 3-pointers.