CLEVELAND (ABC4 Sports) - Playing a back-to-back against the defending NBA champions without two starters proved to be too much for the Utah Jazz.
LeBron James scored 33 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Utah Jazz 91-83 on Thursday night.
The Jazz played their 5th straight game without starting power forward Derrick Favors, and were also without starting shooting guard Rodney Hood, who missed the game with knee soreness.
Kevin Love played for the first time since having surgery on his left knee last month, and scored 10 points in 19 minutes. But Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert left the game with injuries.
James was 13 of 20 from the field and had 10 rebounds with six assists. He also moved into 13th place all time in field goals in the fourth quarter, passing Tim Duncan.
Irving, who scored 21 points, didn't play in the fourth quarter because of tightness in his left knee. Shumpert sprained his left shoulder in the third quarter.
Rudy Gobert led Utah with 20 points and 18 rebounds. The Jazz, who played in Detroit on Wednesday, seemed to run out of gas down the stretch.
James hit two free throws to put Cleveland ahead midway through the fourth. He drove down the lane for a thunderous dunk and added a 3-pointer, giving Cleveland an 84-77 lead.
The Jazz cut the margin to 84-81, but J.R. Smith's 3-pointer from the corner and James' layup put away Cleveland's second straight win after losing four of five.
Love, playing on a minutes limit, had eight points in the first quarter. He had surgery Feb. 14 and was originally expected to miss six weeks. Love is averaging 20 points and 11.1 rebounds, his best season since joining Cleveland in 2014.
Cleveland built a 36-22 lead early in the second quarter, but Utah trailed by two at halftime and tied the game early in the third.
Gordon Hayward was 4 of 14 from the field and scored 13 points. Joe Johnson and Joe Ingles each scored 12.
Utah shot just 42 percent from the field.
The Jazz remain 3 games ahead of the L.A. Clippers for the 4th seed in the West Conference. Utah continues their east coast road trip Saturday in Chicago.
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