NBA regular season

Donovan Mitchell haunts ex-team Jazz, powers Cavs to victory

Donovan Mitchell haunts ex-team Jazz, powers Cavs to victory

CATCHING FIRE EARLY. Donovan Mitchell sets the tone in the Cavaliers' win over the Jazz.

David Richard/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Donovan Mitchell gives the Cavaliers quality minutes, scoring 23 points in 23 minutes, in his first encounter against his former team Jazz

Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points to lead the host Cleveland Cavaliers to a 122-99 win over the Utah Jazz in his first game against his former team on Monday, December 19 (Tuesday, December 20, Manila time).

Hours after being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Mitchell hit 8 of 12 shots, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc, in only 23 minutes. He scored 11 points and nailed 3 three-pointers in the first six minutes to help the Cavaliers establish control early.

Jarrett Allen added 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Darius Garland contributed 17 points and 8 assists as Cleveland won its fourth straight game. Cedi Osman chipped in 22 points and seven Cavaliers scored at least 12, including all five starters.

Lauri Markkanen led Utah with 24 points and 6 rebounds in his return to Cleveland, where he played one season. The Finnish big man was a key acquisition for the Jazz – along with three first-round draft picks – in a massive trade for Mitchell, who played his first five NBA seasons in Utah.

Collin Sexton (hamstring), also part of the deal, did not see action, while rookie Ochai Agbaji, picked 14th overall by Cleveland, saw time at the end of the blowout.

The Jazz, who have lost both of their games so far on a three-game Eastern trip, played without starting forward Kelly Olynyk, who was ruled out with an ankle injury.

Markkanen hit 3 free throws to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 35-28 in the second quarter, but Caris LeVert ignited a 10-0 Cleveland run with a three-pointer and an assist for an Evan Mobley dunk.

Mitchell started the scoring off with a bucket and then followed a Jordan Clarkson three-pointer with a trey of his own to give the Cavaliers the lead at 5-3. Clarkson ended with 23 points.

Mitchell scored 11 of the Cavaliers’ first 19 points, including 3 treys, and spearheaded a 7-0 run that gave Cleveland a quick nine-point lead.

Utah opened the second half by scoring eight straight to make it a 10-point game, but the spurt ended after Isaac Okoro and Mitchell drained back-to-back three-pointers. –

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