The Jazz hang tough for 3 quarters, then fall apart in the 4th in Cleveland

On the opening game of their road trip, the Jazz ran into a local name that burned them from the perimeter.
Dec 20, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Sam Merrill (5) defends Utah Jazz
Dec 20, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Sam Merrill (5) defends Utah Jazz / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz went into Monday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers having won 3 of their last 4 games, and though they were still not at full strength, there was hope they could start the road trip with a solid win over a Cleveland team missing multiple starters, including former Jazzman Donovan Mitchell.

Cleveland sought out the holes in the Jazz defense early, and Will Hardy went to Kris Dunn over Talen Horton-Tucker earlier than usual, hoping to slow the run. It worked for a few minutes as the Jazz tied the game at 18-all with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

Cleveland responded by outscoring the Jazz 18-9 to end the first quarter with 6-13 shooting from 3 point range.

Sam Merrill had 2 of those three pointers, and he would continue to haunt the Jazz throughout the game from deep.

By the 9:04 mark of the 2nd quarter, the Jazz were doing some 3-point shooting of their own, going 9-13 and getting the game within 4 points (38-42).

Cleveland responded with an 8-3 run and led 52-45 with 5:03 left before halftime.

The Jazz then brought the score to 53-56 with 2:28 left and with the ball, had a chance to tie things up when Fontecchio was fouled by Max Strus on a 2-point attempt. Simone made 1-2 and the Jazz were still within a score. But Cleveland went on to lead 62-56 at the half.

In the 3rd quarter, the Jazz hung strongly with the Cavaliers, taking a 73-69 lead. But Cleveland responded to tie it at 75 with 6:33 remaining in the 3rd and the teams traded baskets from there and the Jazz took a 93-92 lead going into the 4th quarter.

And then Sam Merrill and the Cavaliers went on a 15-0 run to open the 4th, hitting 3 balls with reckless abandon. The Jazz could not recover, as they went on to lose the game 124-116.

Merrill finished with 27 points for Cleveland, including 8-14 from distance, spearheading a 75-point bench showing for the Cavaliers.

Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 26 points, and Collin Sexton followed him with 20.

The Jazz head out tonight for Detroit, where they will face the Pistons on Thursday. Detroit has lost 24 games in a row, and the Jazz do not want to be the team to end that streak. Let's hope they regroup well overnight and find out how to stop 3 point shooters from getting so many good looks.

Donovan Mitchell missed tonight's game, but he doesn't want to go home now. dark. Next. Donovan Mitchell no longer wants to be traded to the Knicks?