The Utah Jazz’s Feel Good Tour continued Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
After a win over reigning NBA champion Miami, four days between games and a steady climb up the Western Conference standings because those around them keep losing, the Jazz got back to business by beating Cleveland.
Randy Foye scored 20 points and Derrick Favors tied a season-high with 19 as Utah rolled to a 109-98 victory over the Cavaliers.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Jazz who — don’t look now — are seventh in the West and looking forward to what’s ahead.
“We can’t get complacent,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We want more. We should want more. We want to continue to get better. We want to continue to play hard and win games. Who knows what’s going to happen? But if we continue to compete … who knows where this thing ends up?”
Against the Cavaliers, who played their trip-ending fifth game during a nine-day swing through the Western Conference, Foye continued a recent hot streak.
He scored nine points in the first quarter and added six in opening seven minutes of the second half, when the Jazz took control.
Foye has now made at least one 3-point shot in 12 of the last 13 games. In the last four, he is 16 for 25 from the 3-point line.
“If his feet are set … we’re very comfortable with him taking those shots,” Corbin said. “And he’s making a lot of them for us lately.”
Asked about Foye, point guard Jamaal Tinsley said, “He’s the type of guy that gets open a lot. … He gets a lot of open shots in transition and he’s shooting the ball good right now.”
Tinsley finished with 11 points and four assists. More importantly, he hounded Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving into a sub-par outing.
Irving finished with 18 points — five below his average — but he missed 13 of his 20 shots. He was 1 for 7 in the first quarter.
“I just wanted to make it tough on him,” Tinsley said. “… I want to play against guys like that — guys that are good basketball players. Tonight, I was just trying to limit his touches and be aggressive with him and see how he reacted to it.”
The Jazz started slowly, perhaps because of the down-time after their week-opening 104-97 win over LeBron James and the Heat.
Cleveland snapped a 6-6 tie by converting five straight possessions and built an early 16-10 lead.
Foye rallied the Jazz, who led by as many as seven points in the second quarter before settling for a 53-48 lead at halftime.
“We weren’t concerned,” Tinsley said. “We just didn’t want this game to come back and bite us. We came out a little sluggish and they made a few shots. But in the huddle I was telling the guys, ‘We can’t let this game bite us. We need to pick up our energy and tempo.’ ”
The Jazz dominated the start of the third quarter, when Foye hit a pair of 3-pointers and Tinsley added six points.
The Cavaliers never recovered.
“We talked about having fresh legs,” Corbin said. “I thought the guys did a good job of pushing the ball down the floor. … The pace, for the most part, was good. After we got our legs back under us, I thought we did a good job.”
Jazz 109, Cavs 98
R The Jazz win for the fifth time in six games with a victory over Cleveland.
• Randy Foye goes 4 for 8 from the 3-point line and finishes with 20 points.
• Derrick Favors ties a season-high 19 points.