The first three games of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ four-game homestand were against the Warriors, Nets, and Suns, three of the top teams in the NBA, and the Cavs, who played well in those games, lost all three.
However, Cleveland got a welcomed break on Saturday night as they faced the lowly Orlando Magic(4-17). Fortunately for the Cavaliers, they got back rookie Evan Mobley, who missed the last four games with an elbow injury.
Cleveland(10-10), who had five players in double figures against Orlando, started slowly in this one but took over in the second half as they defeated the Magic 105-92 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
With the win, the Cavaliers finished off their four-game homestand 1-3 and snapped their five-game losing streak.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over Magic:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
– Darius Garland is off to a great start this season. The third-year guard is playing with a lot of confidence. He had a season and game-high 26 points(11-21 FG, 3-7 3-PT FG) and a game-high 11 assists on Saturday. He’s scored 20-plus points in six out of the last eight games.
In addition, Garland became the fourth-youngest Cavs player(21) ever to reach 2,000 career points.
–Cavs’ frontcourt: Size does matter! Evan Mobley(6-11), Lauri Markkanen(6-11), and Jarrett Allen(6-10) combined for 52 points, 25 rebounds, six assists, and six block shots against Orlando. Mobley had 13 points, nine rebounds, and a career-high four block shots. Allen had his third consecutive double-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks, and Markkanen poured in 20 points, including four threes, and grabbed five rebounds.
This is what the Cavs had in mind when they decided to start these three players.
Second Half: Cleveland led the Magic 54-49 at halftime. In the third, the Cavaliers started the quarter on an 11-3 run to push the lead to 13. The Cavaliers took a nine-point lead into the fourth. In the final period, Cleveland got hot and shot 50% from the floor, including 5/9 from downtown, and led by as many as 17 in the quarter, which was their largest lead of the game.
Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Cleveland was coasting in the first half and gave Orlando, who was without their leading scorer Cole Anthony(ankle), some life. The Cavaliers handled business in the second half, but they could have had a much easier night.
Cleveland is a much different team with Mobley in the lineup, so it’s good to have him back. You wonder if this homestand would have turned out differently if health was on their side. The Cavaliers will have another chance to prove they can compete with some of the top teams in the NBA as they go on the road for three games against the Mavericks, Heat, and Wizards.
“He brings a lot to the team with the way he blocks shots, grabs rebounds, and, of course, his dunking,” Garland said about Mobley.
Cleveland begins their three-game road trip on Monday in Dallas against the Mavericks.
Best of the Rest:
-All five of Orlando’s starters scored in double figures on Saturday night, led by Wendell Carter Jr.’s 19 points and 11 rebounds.
-Cedi Osman had 10 points off the Cavs’ bench.
Watch below as Garland, Mobley, and Allen react to Cleveland’s win over Orlando: