SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Luol Deng better be ready to run because Kyrie Irving thinks the Cleveland Cavaliers play best when they play fast.
Irving shines in the open court and says the Cavaliers can win if they can run. They got out on the break Friday night, and Irving had 25 points and eight assists in a 113-102 victory over the Utah Jazz.
"We were just feeding off of one another's energy. We picked up our pace on both ends of the floor. We got multiple stops and that led out to our fast-break points," Irving said.
In Deng's first game with the Cavaliers, Irving scored 17 points in the third quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a 15-point lead as Cleveland snapped Utah's season-high four-game home winning streak. Deng had 10 points in his Cleveland debut.
"He may have tried to press too much, but we want him to get in his rhythm with the rest of us," Irving said.
The rest of the Cavs were certainly in a rhythm against Utah, one game after scoring 111 points against Philadelphia. The NBA's worst-shooting team hit 54 percent against the Jazz, including 63 percent in the second half.
"We kept preaching to our guys to push the pace, push the pace, push the pace," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said after his players set a season high with 39 third-quarter points.
Tristan Thompson had 18 points and 15 rebounds, while C.J. Miles and Dion Waiters each scored 17 to help the Cavs win their first road game since a 109-100 victory in Orlando on Dec. 13.
Playing without leading scorer Gordon Hayward, sidelined by a strained hip, the Jazz were paced by Richard Jefferson's 18 points. Trey Burke had 17 points and six assists, but picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter right before Irving sparked Cleveland's key surge.
"I started being more aggressive and taking advantage of what they were giving me," said Irving, who missed three games with a bruised knee but has returned with extra energy and a sharp touch.
Shooting 43 percent on the season, he was 6 of 9 in the win Tuesday against Philadelphia and then made all three of his 3-point attempts against the Jazz.
After a root canal Thursday, Irving showed no ill effects as he scored from a variety of spots on the floor and pushed the Cavaliers to 21 fast-break points.
"In the first half, I was just too slow. Playing fast not only helps me, it helps the team. Everybody was running the lane, everybody's running for easy baskets and that's what we need," Irving said.