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Caris LeVert scores 26, leads Cavaliers to 129-113 victory over Jazz

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Caris LeVert scored 26 points and Jarrett Allen had 21 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Utah Jazz 129-113 on Tuesday night.

LeVert started in place of Donovan Mitchell, who missed Tuesday’s game due to injury management. Evan Mobley added 21 points for the Cavs, and reserve Sam Merrill had 18 points on six 3-pointers.

Cleveland had 38 assists on 46 baskets and shot 54% from the field.

“We try to take the play that’s there and we have enough talent on this team that if we just make the simple play, defenses are going to have to make tough choices,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

The Cavaliers also scored 26 points off 20 Jazz turnovers while leading wire to wire. They stopped a four-game road losing streak.

“This was one of those nights where it felt like we played our type of basketball,” Allen said. “The ball was moving. We were talking on defense.”

Brice Sensabaugh made six 3-pointers and scored 22 points for Utah, matching his season high in his rookie year.

“I think it was just a matter of time before I started getting my rhythm,” Sensabaugh said. “I struggled for a while … but the rim is opening up for me.”

Collin Sexton had 19 points and six assists, and Taylor Hendricks added 18 points.

The Jazz played without starters Lauri Markkanen and John Collins in their 10th consecutive loss. Reserve center Walker Kessler was held out in the second half after suffering a nasal fracture.

Cleveland made its first seven shots from the field while surging to a 23-9 lead midway through the first quarter. The Cavaliers shot 68% from the field and totaled 40 points during the quarter while repeatedly getting open looks from the perimeter and at the rim. They had 13 assists on 15 field goals during that stretch.

“We wanted to send a message from the beginning of the game,” Allen said. “We wanted to get back to what we know is how we play basketball and that’s what the first quarter was.”

Besides playing lackadaisical defense, the Jazz also committed seven first-quarter turnovers.

“We’ve got to play with more force when we have the ball in our hands,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “You can’t expect anybody to get out of the way. We should expect to get bumped and hit a little bit.”

Cleveland extended its lead to 45-29 on Darius Garland’s 3-pointer before Utah clawed back into the game. Omer Yurtseven capped an 11-2 run with a three-point play that cut the deficit to 50-45.

Allen and Mobley combined for three dunks to push the lead back to double digits and spark a 17-2 run that put the Cavaliers up 67-47 at halftime.

“I thought our energy level was high and that’s what we talked about with the guys, making sure a young team didn’t come and outcompete us and outwork us,” Bickerstaff said.

UP NEXT

Cleveland visits the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Utah visits the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

By JOHN COON
Associated Press

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