LOS ANGELES (AFP) – LeBron James wanted a win in Salt Lake City 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’s Cleveland Cavaliers 104-101.
Derrick Favors added 19 points and Ricky Rubio chipped in 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Jazz notched their fourth straight home win against Cleveland.
James himself 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, James again left disappointed despite scoring 29 points. He handed out six assists and his eight rebounds saw him eclipse 8,000 rebounds for his career.
Jeff Green scored 22 points and Kevin Love added 20 with 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
Cleveland led for most of the first half, but the Jazz responded in the third quarter, opening the second half with a 23-3 scoring run to seize a 71-56 lead.
Favors launched the run with a brace of baskets, and two straight baskets from Joe Ingles gave the Jazz their first double-digit lead.
Cleveland, meanwhile, connected on just four of their 19 shots from the field in the third quarter – missing 13 of their first 14 before Dwyane Wade drained back-to-back three-pointers to trim the deficit to 73-67.
The Cavs managed to trim the deficit to one point three times in the fourth quarter – the final time with 1:35 to play on a three-pointer from Love.