Deng to debut for Cavs in Utah
(SportsNetwork.com) - It doesn't appear a root canal will stop Kyrie Irving from playing Friday, when the Cleveland Cavaliers open a five-game western road trip against the Utah Jazz.
While it's highly likely Irving will play against the Jazz, Cleveland newcomer Luol Deng is expected to make his debut in Salt Lake City. The Cavs acquired two-time All-Star Deng from the Chicago Bulls early Tuesday morning in exchange for center Andrew Bynum, who was promptly waived, along with a first round pick and a pair of second rounders.
"I'm just excited ... it's something new for me and I'm really looking forward to the challenge," Deng said after Wednesday's practice. "I want to work hard and I want to fit in as much as I can. I want to turn it around, I want to help the guys win games and just have a positive attitude towards everything."
Deng averaged 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds over 23 games for the Bulls this season and is expected to start Friday.
The Cavaliers are coming off Tuesday's 111-93 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers and won for just the second time in their last 10 games. C.J. Miles made 10 3-pointers to set the franchise record and scored 34 points, while Irving had 16 points after missing the previous three games with a bruised left knee.
"You feel like all you got to do is get a look at the basket and it's going to go in," Miles said. "Everything just feels like you're in the gym by yourself basically and you know guys are looking for you."
Anderson Varejao scored 18 points to go with 14 rebounds for the Cavs, who were without guard Jarrett Jack (back spasms) for the second game in a row. He is questionable against the Jazz.
Cleveland has lost five in a row on the road, has a 2-15 record away from Quicken Loans Arena and will also visit Sacramento, the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland and Denver on the upcoming journey.
Utah recorded an improbable 112-101 home triumph over the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, as Gordon Hayward poured in a career-high 37 points on 13- of-16 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds to go with seven assists.
"I was in the zone a little bit. It is finally good to be there. It has been a rough season shooting for me," said Hayward, who had 17 points in the fourth quarter and 25 in the second half.
Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams netted 15 and 12 points, respectively, for Utah, which won for the sixth time in the last 10 games and is unbeaten in the previous four home games. The Jazz, who are 7-10 in Salt Lake City, shot 58.8 percent from the field versus the Thunder.
Utah won despite Kevin Durant's 48 points.
The Jazz and Cavaliers are meeting for the first time since splitting a pair of contests a season ago. Utah has won six of the last seven games in this series and is unbeaten in the last four matchups at home.
Cleveland has lost 19 of 23 trips to the Beehive State.
01/10 10:53:15 ET