The Cavs started the season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. However, that hasn’t been the case lately. The Cavs have lost four consecutive games. The latest one came into the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The silver lining of this game is that the Cavs never gave up because they trailed by 24 points late in the third quarter. Another silver lining is that Darius Garland had his best game of the season. He surprised everyone by scoring a career-high 51 points. 27 of them in the fourth quarter and made a career-best 10 three-pointers.
Although this is amazing by Garland, he’s been more inconsistent than consistent this season. We can hope for a better performance from him in the future and this game against the Timberwolves might be the stepping stone for what’s to come. But here are some numbers that describe Garland’s latest struggles and a key reason why the Cavs are in a slump.
In the last three games, Darius Garland has struggled to shoot the ball effectively. Against the Los Angeles Clippers. He scored 19 points but shot 8-for-17 from the field. In the following game against the Sacramento Kings, Garland scored just six points going 1-for-9 from the field. In the matchup against Golden State Warriors, Garland struggled once again, scoring 15 points and shooting 5-for-19 from the field. I’ve taken notice that in almost every road game that the Cavs played this season, Garland has struggled to shoot the ball well. He’s more effective at home than on the road so far.
Cleveland should’ve won at Golden State. They had the lead in the fourth quarter, but they lost poise. Cleveland should’ve also taken advantage of winning on the road against Sacramento.
The Cavs also had to deal with the adversity of injured All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen. Mitchell was sidelined with a sprained right ankle, while Allen sat out with a sore left ankle. Had Mitchell and Allen played last night’s game, the Cavs could’ve won and snapped the three-game losing streak.
Durability and consistency will be a factor for Cleveland this season. While Mitchell and Allen are out, Garland has to bring his A-game every single night if Cleveland is going to be successful.