"He's been great for us," Cleveland coach Ty Lue said. "He was a big part of our championship last year, and he's a big part of our rotation now. He provides a lot on the floor. I think it's good to have veteran guys like that. He's been great for us on and off the floor."
As Cleveland makes a run for a second consecutive NBA championship, the Cavaliers have stocked up on former Jazz players in the last few months. First, they traded for Kyle Korver, one of the best shooters in the NBA. In 26 games with the Cavaliers, he's averaged 11 points and has given LeBron James another perimeter option to pass to.
At the trade deadline, Cleveland acquired point guard Deron Williams when he was bought out of his contract by the Dallas Mavericks. Williams is now Kyrie Irving's backup at point guard, and has immediately been inserted into important fourth quarter minutes.
Cleveland even brought in former Utah Utes star Andrew Bogut. But the center fractured his leg in his first game with the team.
The former Jazz to Cleveland movement began with Jefferson, however. And if the Cavs are to be successful during the postseason, Jefferson's success will have to continue.
All-Star power forward Kevin Love came back from injury Thursday night. Love had missed a month of action, after having surgery on his left knee. He immediately returned to the starting lineup and scored eight points to go along with six rebounds in Thursday's first half.
Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood missed Thursday's game with a sore right knee. He missed the second half of Wednesday's win over the Detroit Pistons with the knee, which originally flared in Monday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Hood and Derrick Favors (bone contusion) were two notable rotation players to miss Thursday night. Guard Shelvin Mack remained out with a sprained ankle.
Jazz assistant coach Lamar Skeeter is originally from Dayton Ohio, which is about two hours from Cleveland.