This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been known to take to twitter and social media after games to air out his feelings. So it isn't surprising that his message to Jazz fans after Monday's important 94-85 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers was a direct one.
"Big win tonight!," Gobert said through his twitter feed. "Defense is back on lock. #ontothenextone."
Indeed the Jazz on Monday turned in one of their best defensive performances of the season, choking the Cavs offense, shutting down the paint and turning Cleveland into a jump-shooting team. It was an eye-opening performance on that end for the Jazz, the kind of outing that kind that was expected when the season started.
"Collectively, there were a lot of guys helping each other and I think that was absolutely true on the defensive end," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "There was more communication tonight than I think I've heard in a long time. There was a lot of urgency. And usually, when you're that communicative, the results are pretty good."
The Jazz were so good defensively against Cleveland that the numbers stood out on paper. The Cavaliers shot 40 percent from the field, and went 10-42 from 3-point range, an astounding amount of perimeter shots, even in what's become a perimeter-driven league.
They held Kyrie Irving to 7-of-23 shooting, a number that led Irving to keep shooting on the Vivint Smart Home Arena floor for an hour after the game. Kevin Love went 4-11 from the field and JR Smith went 2-12.
Most importantly, LeBron James had good numbers 23 points and 12 rebounds but didn't dominate the game in the manner of which he's usually accustomed.
"That's our calling card we play defense," Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood said. "And we play hard. We were able to come up with some stops. We were able to turn them into a one-on-one team. They are great one-on-one players, but we were very good defensively."
Defensively, the Jazz have been playing well. They've held three consecutive opponents under 100 points, and have surrendered triple digits just once in the last seven games.
Staying on top
The Jazz have steadily become a good team when leading at halftime. With the win over Cleveland, they are 22-9 overall when holding an advantage after two quarters. They have won 16 of 20 under such circumstance at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
"We are going to play hard, regardless of what happens or what the scoreboard says," Hood said.
Hayward missed his first game of the season on Monday, and is considered day-to-day. Snyder said he hopes a few days of rest will help Hayward and his availability for Thursday's game against the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz also have a five game road trip looming that's shaping up as their most important of the season.