Cleveland Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell & Cavs Stay Red-Hot In Win Over Trail Blazers
Cavs Reclaim Best Net Rating
The Cavs have once again reclaimed the best net rating in the NBA, and have started to look like a championship contender again. As unlikely players are becoming more vocal, leaders are starting to show up in the locker room.
Donovan Mitchell explained that Lamar Stevens called him out for taking a play off on defense, which lit a fire under him. Last season in Utah, if someone would have called him out, it would’ve started a complete mess of a segment on ESPN.
Now, Mitchell has shown some serious growth and is using this to make himself a better player, and not take anything for granted.
And it wasn’t just defense where we saw Mitchell thrive, he once again had an MVP-Esque performance on offense. It wasn’t his most explosive performance in the wine and gold, but it was a highly efficient 34 points, where he only missed 7 field goals.
However, it wasn’t just Mitchell, it was a full team effort on display. Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland both scored 24 points and had the two highest +/-’s on the team.
Evan Mobley and Lamar Stevens were the other two starters, and where they might not have been box score heroes, they thrived on defense. Mobley added three more blocks to his season total, and Stevens was perfect on defense to whomever he guarded.
I’d still love to see Mobley more involved in the offense, but when Jusuf Nurkic is trying to guard Jarrett Allen, you just let the guy take over from there.
Dean Wade Return Boosts Cavs Play
Another massive boost for the Cavs came from the return of Dean Wade from injury. He was a +17, getting the whole team involved on offense.
I noticed multiple times throughout the game where Wade had a slightly open shot, but was willing to make the extra pass to have his teammate get a wide-open look.
The bench didn’t have a great game but they made up for it by playing hard. The subs that checked in before garbage time all had positive +/-’s and never made the Cavs' offense feel that stagnant.
Missing Kevin Love and Caris LeVert on the bench also accounted for the lack of scoring, but they’ll both be returning shortly.
This was an overall dominate win for the Cavs. From start to finish, Cleveland was in complete control. Portland was missing a few key players including Damian Lillard, but it’s the NBA; everyone is hurt.
The Cavs saw a team that was struggling and took care of business. Last year, the Cavs struggled in this game and keep Portland alive until the end; however, these Cavs are different.
I know I may be getting my hopes up with this team, but sometimes you feel something magical cooking within an organization. I’ve never seen a team from Cleveland so in sync on and off the court. If Donovan Mitchell keeps up his MVP-like play, who knows where this team's ceiling is.
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