Utah Jazz at Cleveland Cavaliers: Keys to stealing a huge win

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a second half basket with LeBron James #23 behind Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena on November 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 108-97. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a second half basket with LeBron James #23 behind Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena on November 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 108-97. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Prediction – Cavaliers 112, Jazz 98

I’m extremely encouraged by the grit and toughness Utah displayed in their surprising win over the Celtics last night. If they can maintain that and keep the hot hand in Cleveland, then the Cavs will be in for a tough challenge. Nevertheless, considering how well Cleveland has played, that this game is on the second night of a back-to-back for the Jazz, that Utah will be without Rudy Gobert and that the Jazz simply have no one to truly match wits with LeBron, I’m expecting a Cavaliers win.

It wouldn’t shock me to see this game end up much closer than the 112-98 score I’ve projected here, especially if Utah is able to once again capitalize on Gobert’s absence to space the floor and knock down shots with ease, but given all that we know at this point, I’m expecting Cleveland to come out on top, earning their 17th win out of the last 18 games.

Next: Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors expected to play, Tony Bradley recalled

From here, the Utah Jazz’s competition won’t get any easier as they’ll go on to visit the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder to wrap up the road trip. They were spectacular against Boston, so if that performance ends up being indicative of them turning things around, they could surprise some teams in this upcoming stretch.

However, if it was little more than a fluke, they will be in real trouble. We should get a good idea of what to expect out of this Jazz team moving forward, for better or for worse, following tonight’s contest with the Cavs.