SALT LAKE CITY – Newly-acquired small forward Luol Deng made his presence known during the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-102 win over the Utah Jazz.
Nothing flashy, nor spectacular, but quietly effective and intense, the former Duke Blue Devil scored ten points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field in 21 minutes of action.
In displaying a deft and crafty combination of low-post moves and an ability to score from mid-range, Deng gives the Cavaliers what they have been sorely missed since LeBron James—a quality top-tier player at the small forward position.
With Deng in a suddenly rejuvenated lineup that features former Dukie in Kyrie Irving, C.J. Miles, Anderson Varejao and emerging double-double machine in Tristan Thompson, Cleveland suddenly has the look of a contender once again in the very-sorry East.
In his first game with the Wine and Gold, Deng displayed a rarely seen combination of scoring, defense and most importantly—quiet leadership on the bench, that—thanks to the recent dustups behind the scenes, is an invigorating breath of needed fresh air for a young Cleveland team that was in a tailspin before his arrival.
But the addition of a two-time All-Star in a position of dire need, will put a proverbial spring in any team’s step.