Beating a team twice in a two-game set is very difficult, and it becomes even harder when you are down many of your key players. That is what the Cavaliers had to do on Monday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as they concluded their two-game set against the Boston Celtics.
Coming into this game, Cleveland had won two straight and six of their last seven.
Cleveland, who overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Celtics on Saturday night, was already missing Lauri Markkanen(Return To Competition Reconditioning), Kevin Love(Return To Competition Reconditioning), Collin Sexton(knee), Lamar Stevens(Ankle), and Jarrett Allen(Illness). They would also lose rookie Evan Mobley(elbow) early in the fourth.
The Cavaliers(9-6) trailed by as much as nine points in the fourth and got within one late in the game, but Boston’s Dennis Schroder hit two big shots and stretched the Celtics lead to five, and Cleveland would fall to Boston(7-7) 98-92.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottomline of the Cavs’ loss to Boston:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Cedi Osman scored 12 of his 26 points, including four of his game-high six threes in the fourth. He also dished out five assists off the Cavaliers’ bench. The five-year veteran is giving the Cavs great minutes off the bench this season, and he is shooting a career-high 42% from three-point range.
-Ricky Rubio scored 26 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, including 14 in the third quarter. Rubio got the start for Cleveland. He also added six rebounds and two assists on Monday. He, like Osman, kept the Cavs in this game, and was making array of shots off the dribble.
The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:
-Evan Mobley: Mama said there would be days like this, and Mobley, who started at center for the injured Allen, had an off day for the Cavs. He was 0/11 from the floor and scored only two points, but he did have nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Mobley will learn from this one as Boston’s Al Horford defended him very well.
On Tuesday, the Cavs announced that Mobley would be out 2-4 weeks after an MRI confirmed that he had a sprained right elbow. According to the team, Mobley will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation.
Shooting: Cleveland shot 38.6% from the field on Monday night, but they did shoot 40% from downtown, so it wasn’t all bad.
Both teams were playing their third game in four nights on Monday, and it showed.
Cleveland would’ve had to play better than they did on Saturday night to get this one, and without their key players, including Mobley, defeating Boston was going to be tough.
Mobley going down is a significant loss for the Cavaliers. He was playing so well. Hopefully, they can get Markkanen and Love back soon. Cleveland battled injuries all last season and is struggling with injuries now, but this is a resilient bunch, so expect this team to fight.
“Hopefully, the guys who are out get healthy and recover fast,” Rubio said postgame. “We are who we are. Tonight, nine players played. If we have to play with five players we will. We can’t be complaining about this guy being out or that guy. At the end of the day, everybody goes through a lot of stuff.”