Cavs Love on Garland: ‘I’ve been telling him, keep leading us’

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Monday’s game against the New York Knicks without two valuable pieces in Lauri Markkanen(ankle) and Jarrett Allen(illness). However, like we’ve seen throughout this season with Cleveland, it’s next man up. 

Ed Davis and Dean Wade got the start for the Cavaliers.

Kevin Love scored a team-high 20 points off the bench as the Cavs would defeat the Knicks 95-93 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

The Knicks, who were on the second half of a back-to-back after defeating the Clippers on Sunday, had a chance to beat Cleveland at the buzzer, but Julius Randle’s three was wide.

Cleveland(29-19) has won two straight and seven of eight, while the Knicks(23-25) have lost four of five. 

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Knicks.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Kevin Love gave Cleveland the lift they needed off the bench. Love had 20 points, including six threes. He also added 11 rebounds. The 14-year veteran went off in the third as he scored 14 on four threes. Love also had a milestone as he moved into fourth place on the team’s all-time defensive rebounds list.

-Evan Mobley had his second straight double-double as he scored 15 points and 12 rebounds. He also added five assists. This was Mobley’s 15th consecutive game in double figures.

-For the fifth straight game, Darius Garland had a double-double. The third-year guard had 13 points and 12 assists. This was Garland’s seventh double-double in eight games. In addition, with the score tied at 91, Garland made the game-winning three with 1:23 to go in the fourth.  

According to ESPN’s Stats and Info, Garland recorded his fifth straight game with 10 assists,  tying LeBron James (2017-18) for the longest streak by any Cavaliers player over the last 10 seasons.

-Isaac Okoro brought energy and effort against the Knicks. He was all over the court and finished with 14 points and six rebounds. 

Third Quarter: New York and Cleveland were tied at 50 at the break. In the third, Love came alive as he scored 14 of his 20 points in the quarter. With just over five minutes left in the third and the game knotted at 61, Love got hot, and the Cavs went on a 15-1 run to take a 76-62 lead. The five-time All-Star scored 11 points during that run.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers: On Saturday against OKC, Cleveland had a season-high 23 turnovers, and Monday night, they added 20 more turnovers, which is a combined 43 turnovers in two games. We keep saying all these turnovers are going to lead to a loss. However, Cleveland has found ways to get it done. 

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland took their largest lead of 15 points at the 9:41 mark in the final period, but they let the Knicks creep back in. New York went on a 20-5 run to knot the game at 91. The Knicks would outscore Cleveland 24-19 in the fourth. The Cavs had trouble scoring in the fourth as they shot 26.3% from the floor and went over five minutes without a field goal. However, again, the Cavs would find a way to get things done. 

Bottom Line:

The Cavaliers were missing 2/3 of their frontcourt Monday night and did not really play a good game against the Knicks. However, good teams find ways to win games when they are not at their best, and it’s clear the Cavs fall under the good team category. 

With the win, Cleveland continues to move up the standings. The fifth-seeded Cavs are 1.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot in the East, and one of the teams they’re chasing, the fourth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, comes to Cleveland Wednesday night.

 “I’ve been telling him, keep leading us,” Love said about Garland after the game.

What’s Next:

The Cavaliers conclude their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the world champion Milwaukee Bucks. 

Best of the Rest:

Dean Wade had 13 points, including four threes and five rebounds. Rajon Rondo, who missed six games due to a hamstring injury, had eight points, four rebounds, and three assists off the bench.

-RJ Barrett led the Knicks with a game-high 24 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Watch below as Love and head coach J.B Bickerstaff talks big win over Knicks:

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