Utah Jazz set to face some of East’s top stars
Notes • All-Star Game MVP and Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is first up on road trip.
Published: February 27, 2014 02:27PM
Updated: February 28, 2014 05:10PM
image
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Cleveland won 114-104. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Jazz face six of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference on their upcoming road trip, which starts Friday night in Cleveland.

Along the way, Utah will play mostly struggling teams, but will face some of the NBA’s brightest stars, including New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Indiana’s Paul George, Washington’s John Wall and the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving.

The MVP of the recent All-Star Game, Irving averages 21.4 points and 6.3 assists. He scored 25 points in Cleveland’s 113-102 win over Utah on Jan. 10.

“He’s grown,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “The way he’s carrying his team, he’s done a great job. He’s growing really fast after not playing much in college. It’s exciting to watch him play.”

According to Corbin, the Jazz’s goal during the longest trip of the season is continued improvement.

“We’ve got to make sure we understand what it takes [to win] on the road,” he said. “We have to be ready each and every night. We want to continue to show growth — consistently show the kind of effort it takes on both ends of the floor.”

Cavs’ progress shows in win vs. Thunder

Cleveland comes off a 114-104 victory at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night — its most impressive win of the season.

Irving scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, when the Cavaliers exploded for 42 points on 14-for-21 shooting.

“To come here and get a win in this building versus this team and those players and that coaching staff — for us — is a good confidence-booster,” said Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.

Irving says the Cavs can’t let down against Utah after beat the Thunder.

“Obviously, playing against a great team, you’re going to get up for it,” he said. “Everyone in the league wants to play against a great team like this. …

“But this game doesn’t mean any more than any other game that we have coming up. Every game just means a lot at this point, no matter who we’re playing.”

Newest Cav Hawes fitting right in

Cleveland center Spencer Hawes started for the second time in four games against the Thunder. He was acquired from Philadelphia just before the NBA trade deadline.

Hawes averages 14.3 points for Cleveland.

“That is just a testament to these guys,” he told reporters after the win over Oklahoma City. “They’ve really embraced me and helped me out along the way, trying to make this as seamless as possible, knowing that we have no time to spare.

“They’ve really helped me out on both ends and just tried to assimilate as quickly as possible.”

luhm@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sluhm

Jazz road trip

Date, time Opponent Top player (key stats)

Friday, 5:30 p.m. Cleveland Kyrie Irving (21.4 ppg, 6.3 apg)

Sunday, 4 p.m. Indiana Paul George (22.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg)

Monday, 6 p.m. Milwaukee Brandon Knight (17.0 ppg, 5.0 apg)

March 5, 5 p.m. Washington John Wall (19.8 ppg, 8.6 apg)

March 7, 5:30 p.m. New York Carmelo Anthony (28.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg)

March 8, 5:30 p.m. Philadelphia Michael Carter-Williams (17.1 ppg, 6.2 apg)