Cavs’ Mitchell shines in return to Utah, but it wasn’t enough

On Tuesday night, Donovan Mitchell came back to Utah for the first time since the trade that sent him to Cleveland in the offseason.

In his return, Mitchell, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Jazz, got a lot of cheers from the fans in Utah.

However, while he was special(46 points), the Cavs(26-16) would fall to the Jazz(20-22) 116-114 at Vivint Arena.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Jazz.


Donovan Mitchell returned to Utah and balled out. He scored 17 of his 46 points(14/27 FG, 7/18 3-PT FG) in the fourth to go along with five rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Mitchell brought the Cavs all the way back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit, but it wasn’t enough.

In the loss, Mitchell recorded his 500th career steal. 

Darius Garland had 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists as the Cavs’ backcourt combined for 67 of the team’s 114 points.

First 10:37 of the Fourth Quarter: At one point in the fourth, Mitchell scored 10 straight for the Cavs and gave them a 101-94 lead with just over six minutes to go, which was their largest lead of the quarter. It appeared, at that point, that Cleveland was in control.

Not So Great:

The last 1:23 of the Fourth Quarter: The last 1:23 belonged to Jordan Clarkson, who scored 15 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth.

With the Cavs leading 107-102, Clarkson took over. He hit a step-back three, plus the foul, which was ruled a flagrant foul on Caris LeVert, and with the free throw, the score was 107-106.

Because of the flagrant foul, Utah would retain possession of the ball.  Clarkson was again fouled by LeVert shooting a three, and he made all three free throws to give Utah a 109-107 lead.

With 40 seconds to go, and Utah leading 109-107, Clarkson would hit a floater to seal the deal. 

Rebounding: The Jazz outrebounded the Cavs 54-37 in this contest and had 27-second chance points. The Cavs played most of the game without their starting center and leading rebounder Jarrett Allen, who left the game in the first quarter with an illness and did not return. 

Bottom Line:

This was an emotional night, and again, it appeared Mitchell was going to have a happy homecoming, but as J.B.Bickertstaff had said about the Cavs in the past, they have to learn how to close out games on the road. This was a perfect example of not closing the deal.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return to action on Thursday night in Portland against the Blazers.

Best of the Rest:

Lauri Markkanen had 25 points and 16 rebounds against his former team. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Malik Beasley, and Mike Conley each had 13 points.

For the Cavs, Evan Mobley had 12 points and seven rebounds; LeVert had 12 points, and Lamar Stevens added 11 off the bench.

Back to Mitchell, according to Elias Sports, his 46 points were the second-most in a player’s first road game versus a former team.

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