Jazz call the tune on LeBron's birthday

SALT LAKE CITY (Utah) • LeBron James wanted a win for his 33rd birthday on Saturday, but the Utah Jazz had other ideas.

Rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points to help the Jazz beat James' Cleveland Cavaliers 104-101 in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Derrick Favors added 19 points and Ricky Rubio chipped in 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Jazz (16-21) notched their fourth straight home win against Cleveland.

James has now lost seven straight on the Jazz's home court - a skid that stretches back to his time with the Miami Heat.

Saying before the game that he "needed" a win in Utah, he again left disappointed despite scoring 29 points. He handed out six assists and grabbed eight rebounds but could not prevent Cleveland from losing for the fourth time in five games. Jeff Green scored 22 points and Kevin Love added 20 with 10 rebounds for the Cavs.

The defeat saw Cleveland (24-12) finish 0-3 on a road trip that also included a marquee clash with Golden State and a stop in Sacramento.

"We went 0-3. It's a trash trip," said James.

"I don't know where it kind of went wrong, but we have to figure it out, like we did the first time."

The Cavaliers started the season 5-7 but recorded 18 wins in their next 19 games.

As they look to return to winning ways, they have been given a boost, with Isaiah Thomas likely to make his season debut tomorrow (Wednesday morning, Singapore time) when the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Quicken Loans Arena.

The two-time All-Star point guard, who averaged 28.9 points per game last year, has been sidelined with a hip injury since being obtained in a trade with Boston involving Kyrie Irving.

"We want him back. We need him back," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told ESPN. "We need a guy who can run pick-and-roll, can score the basketball, can get to the free-throw line, can play with pace, can get into the paint. We need that. We're excited about him. He's very close."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2018, with the headline 'Jazz call the tune on LeBron's birthday'. Print Edition | Subscribe