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Cavs fall to Utah Jazz 109-108, halt win streak at four games

Christian Hinton
Cavs play at home against the Utah Jazz

The Cleveland Cavaliers are having a resurgent season.

Off to a 13-10 start and a four-game win streak heading into Sunday, they welcomed in the 15-7 Utah Jazz. The Cavs were looking to extend their win streak to five games — their first streak that substantial since LeBron James' last year with the team in 2018.

Cavs general manager Koby Altman often credits coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his players for the team's success in his "From the Desk of Koby Altman" series. However, it was Altman's drafting, player additions and offseason decisions that lit this fuse in Cleveland.

Draft selections over the last few years: Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro and Evan Mobley have built team's foundation and made them one of the NBA's best young units.

Mobley has had a big impact on the team's early success, recently being named the NBA's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November.

Along with averaging 14.4 points and eight rebounds, Mobley racked up 244 points, 136 rebounds, 42 assists, 16 steals and 30 blocks — something only four former players have done in league history in their first 17 games (Bill Walton 1974-75, Mychal Thompson 1978-79 and Chris Webber 1993-94).

Along with his draft selections, Altman has made moves to add talent already within the league as well. Among the most impactful recent additions have been veteran's Ricky Rubio, Lauri Markkanen and Jarrett Allen.

Allen was traded for midway through the 2020-'21 season and signed to a five year, $100 million deal with the team last offseason. His addition has been nothing but beneficial for the Cavs, as he averages a double-double nearly every night (16.9 ppg, 11.4 rebounds per game).

This game was expected to be among the most competitive the Cavs have had thus far, as their second ranked defense (104 opponent points per game) looked to stop the NBA's best offense (116 points per game) in the Jazz.

Game Summary
The first quarter was good for the Cavs, but better for the Jazz. Though Garland started off hot going 4-4 from three with 12 points, Donovan Mitchell started hotter with 15 points off 6-8 shooting.

The Cavs defense quickly accumulated five blocked shots through the first half, but — despite their defensive efforts — their offense still could not match the Jazz efficiency.

Continual ball movement by the Jazz and high efficiency shots proved too much for the Cavs defense the first half, giving them a five-point, 60-55 deficit into halftime.

Things stayed close out of halftime, as both teams continually traded buckets and scoring runs. Though the Jazz tried pulling away multiple times, it was the Cavs' interior game that allowed them to stay in it.

A combined 31 points and 16 rebounds from Mobley and Allen sustained the Cavs' big man identity through the third quarter, but was not enough to take a lead before the fourth.

Down 91-80 heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavs had some work to do if they wanted to come back to win this one.

Seemingly single handedly putting the team on his back mid-way through the fourth, Cedi Osman not only hit a couple threes, but he stole the ball and took it the length of the floor for a huge dunk that made the nearly sold out crowd erupt.

With under 20 seconds left and down one at 108-109, Mobley blocked a shot attempt from Mitchell that proved too little, too late for the team. They missed the final shot for the win, and the Cavs lost 108-109.

With their winning streak over at 4, things still look promising for this Cavs team as the season continues. They face off against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday at home.

Christian Hinton is a Senior at Kent State University majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Through his time at Kent State University, he's had his own sports radio show on Black Squirrel Radio along with participating in live sports reporting for TV2.