Home has been great for the Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are now riding a three-game win streak, with those three games coming within four days. After a difficult road stretch and injuries to follow, the Cavs have found a way to bounce back. Now, the Cavs now have an opportunity to finish the home stand undefeated.
Just two games removed from dropping 51 points against the Timberwolves, Darius Garland stepped up yet again whenever the Cavs needed it. Against the Hornets, Garland dropped 41 points and six assists. Garland’s performance was essential in escaping this game in double overtime.
Not without help, as Donovan Mitchell had 34 points as well. The big men helped clench this game as well. Jarrett Allen had four huge blocks, making life difficult for the Hornets when attacking the paint. Evan Mobley also enjoyed a fantastic game with 21 points on a stellar 9/14 split. Additionally, Mobley enjoyed a stuffed the stat sheet with 18 rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks. After losing their previous five games, this felt like a must-win game for the Cavaliers. The final for the game was 132-122 in double overtime.
Against a short-handed Miami team, Cleveland took care of business. Miami was without the services of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Hero and for most of the game, that was very apparent. Winning 113-87, the outcome was never really in question.
The bench had a much better performance, as they have struggled while the Cavs have been on the road. Osman was massive off the bench with 20 points and 12 rebounds, with four of those being offensive rebounds. Cedi’s energy and commitment to grabbing rebounds was felt all game long.
The starters also enjoyed a nice game, with most things coming pretty easily. Mobley had a complete game with 15 points on 7/12 shooting with 10 rebounds and five assists. Our maestro point guard Garland was fantastic yet again. Garland finished with 25 points and seven assists on 7/12 shooting and 4/7 from three-point land. Mitchell with a season-low 13 points but it hardly mattered as the rest of the team fired on all cylinders.
These are the games that good teams need to take care of and Cleveland did just that. The entire team looked engaged, efficient and still finding ways to improve. This game helped keep the Cavaliers on schedule both in terms of placement in the standings as well as growth.
It’s never dull playing the Hawks. Most were curious how the Cavs would look facing the team that eliminated the Cavs in the play-in tournament at the end of last season. The Hawks have also been looked at in close relation to the Cavs, as they too traded to add an all-star guard to their backcourt this offseason. Adding Dejounte Murray to the team in a very similar deal to the one the Cavs did to acquire Donovan Mitchell. Naturally, many were excited to see how these two revamped backcourts would look competing against each other.
Cleveland had a lot going against them in this game. This was the 3rd game in four days, as well as a back-to-back. The Cavs surely had tired legs with the amount of basketball played over the last four days, but they pushed through, playing some of their best basketball of the season.
The defense returned to form, making life difficult on both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Okoro, Garland and Mitchell did great when defending on the perimeter and when Atlanta’s guards entered the paint, Mobley and Allen made life miserable. Young finished with 25 points and 10 assists, but just 10/25 from the field and just 1/7 from beyond the arc. Life was no easier for Dejounte as he was just 4/17 from the field with 11 points and six assists.
Highlighting the Cavs
Neither Allen or Mobley needed large scoring performances, instead playing great team basketball, scoring when needed, making a great pass within the offense and playing elite defense. The frontcourt combined for 18 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Osman continues to wow at home this season. In an ultra-efficient game offensively, Osman scored 23 points off the bench, going 8/10 from the field and 3/4 from three-point land. With injuries to Caris LeVert, Dean Wade, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love (playing through the injury last night ) the Cavs needed his bench production.
Garland and Mitchell took the cake in their first meeting between the two all-star backcourts. Surely there will be plenty more to come between these two teams, but it still feels good seeing the duo coming out on top with great games.
Garland continued his ultra-efficient play going 9/14 from the field with 26 points and nine assists. Garland’s ability to facilitate the offense has been irreplaceable and it has continually showed this season. Not without fault though, as eight turnovers is far too high and will need to improve over the season.
Mitchell hit big shots whenever needed, as he has all season. Capping off an already great night with 29 points and nine assists of his own, helping to ensure the Cavs’ 114-102 win over the Hawks.
The Cavs will face the Trailblazers on Wednesday, which will be the last game of the homestand. The Blazers will be without the services of their superstar, Damian Lillard who is out with a leg injury. This is a game the Cavs should be able to take advantage of, before going on the road once again. With the win over Atlanta, Cleveland now sits 3rd in the east with a shot at redemption against Milwaukee on Friday.