Cavs’ Mitchell on Brooks: ‘Quite frankly, I’ve been busting his a** for years’

The Cavs(32-22) ended their three-game homestand against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night, and this nationally televised game was very physical. Cleveland defeated the Grizzlies 128-113 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Memphis(32-32) has now lost seven of their last eight games.

In this game, Donovan Mitchell and Dillon Brooks were both ejected after an altercation in the third quarter. We’ll talk about that a little later.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Grizzlies.

The Great:

Darius Garland did not get the call as an All-Star reserve and let the league know about it on the court. Garland had a game-high 32 points and 11 assists.

Jarrett Allen does what Jarrett Allen has done all season, and that’s getting a double-double. He had 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. 

Evan Mobley was the third Cavs player with a double-double, as he had 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. This was the second time this season Cleveland had three players record double-doubles in the same game.

Post Mitchell-Brooks fight: Mitchell and Brooks(Flagrant 2 foul) were ejected with 5:48 left in the third quarter. The altercation started when Brooks drove to the basket and fell to the ground. Mitchell got control of the ball and Brooks hit Mitchell in the groin while on the ground. Mitchell threw the ball at Brooks and pushed him.  The two were separated, and eventually, order was restored. 

At that point, Cleveland led 81-76. After the Mitchell and Brooks scrap, Cleveland seemed inspired and outscored the Grizzlies 47-37 the rest of the way.

Donovan Mitchell: He stood up for himself and wasn’t going to back down from Brooks; for that, he makes the list. The team also gave him the “Junkyard Dog” award, so they loved what he did.

Not So Great:

Donovan Mitchell: Before the ejection, Mitchell was off; he finished the game 2/11 from the field and scored only six points in 22 minutes of action.

Bottom Line:

This game was physical and fun, and the Cavs went toe-to-toe with the Grizzlies and didn’t back down; it was good to see the Cavs inspired after the scrap between Brooks and Mitchell. 

Furthermore, Brooks started the fight by hitting Mitchell in the groin, and Mitchell just defended himself. In the end, the incident inspired the Cavs, and they got the win.

Quotes:

J.B Bickerstaff/Cavs Head Coach: “We don’t have those guys that start s***, but we have guys who don’t run from s***, and you have to in this league.”

Mitchell on Brooks: “That’s just who he is. We’ve seen it a bunch in this league with him. Him and I have had our personal battles for years. Quite frankly, I’ve been busting his a** for years. Playoffs, regular season. The one game he does an alright job on me today, he does something like that. There’s no place for that in the game, and you’ve got to protect yourself at the end of the day.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland travels to Indiana to battle the Pacers on Sunday. 

Best of the Rest:

-Cedi Osman had 21 points off the bench and was 4/5 from downtown for the Cavs; Ricky Rubio had a season-high 13 points. Issac Okoro chipped in with 12 points. Cleveland had six players in double figures.

-Desmond Bane led the Grizzlies with 25 points; Ja Morant added 24 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, and Santi Aldama had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Cleveland falls to Heat at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

The Cavs(31-22) continued their three-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Miami Heat(29-23). 

This was a back-and-forth affair, but the Cavs would fall 100-97 after Donovan Mitchell missed a three at the buzzer.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Heat.

The Great:

Evan Mobley led the Cavs with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. He had a team-best +16 rating.

Jarrett Allen recorded another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. 

Not So Great:

Backcourt: Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland had 16 points apiece. They were a combined 13/30 from the field and 5/20 from deep(Mitchell 3/13 3-PT FG, Garland 2/7 3-PT FG). The Cavs, on average, get 49.4 points per game from Mitchell and Garland, but against the Heat, the two combined for 32 points.

Free Throw Line: Cleveland was 6/12(50%) from the charity stripe on Tuesday.

Final 3:28 of Regulation: After an Isaac Okoro three tied things up at 92, the Cavs would make one field goal the rest of the way. Miami went on a 6-1 run over the next two minutes, and ultimately, they held on to get the win.

Bottom Line:

You have to close out games, and right now, the Cavs need to do that at a consistent enough level. Two of their last three losses(Heat and Knicks) have come down to the final possession.

The expectations are high in Cleveland, but this team is not a finished product. The Cavs have a young basketball team who are learning how to win, which takes time.

Cleveland, who has not won two straight since early early January, was not expected to win an NBA title this season. Still a lot of basketball left, but this team has to be a little more consistent.

What’s Next:

The Cavs host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 23 points. Caleb Martin, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro each had 18 points. Adebayo added 11 rebounds, and Martin had a career-high 10 rebounds.

-Caris LeVert had 14 points off the bench for Cleveland.

-Kevin Love(back) missed his fourth game straight game.

-Mitchell led the Cavs with four steals

Cedi Osman shines as Cavs rout Clippers

The last time the Cavs played a depleted team at home, they lost to the Golden State Warriors, who sat four of their five starters.

On Sunday night, they had another depleted squad coming to town, the Los Angeles Clippers, who had defeated the Hawks in Atlanta the night before.

Los Angeles(28-25) was without Kawhi Leonard(injury management), Paul George(right knee soreness), and Reggie Jackson(Achilles soreness), and this time, the Cavs took advantage of it. 

Cleveland(31-21), who had five players in double figures, led from start to finish and by as many as 40 points, and they defeated the Clippers 122-99 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Clippers.

The Great:

Cedi Osman had a career-high 29 points(11/13 FG, 7/7 3-PT FG) off the bench. Sixteen of his 29 points came in the fourth when the game was well in hand, but still, an excellent performance from Osman. Ironically, Osman, who played for the Turkish national team, did all this on “Turkish Heritage Night” at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Darius Garland had 16 points and 10 assists. This is Garland’s second straight double-double.

Jarrett Allen had 15 points and eight rebounds, and he made this list because he hit his first three-pointer of the season and the first since November 2021. 

First Half: This game was over at halftime. Cleveland led 64-34 at the half. In that first half, the Cavs shot 57% from the field and 53% from deep. The Cavs led by as many as 35 in the first half and cruised from there.

Not So Great:

You lead by as many as 40 and win by 23. Life is all great!

Bottom Line:

Cleveland handled their business. Nothing more, nothing less. Sidenote: It has to be frustrating for fans to pay a bunch of money for tickets and not see their favorite NBA stars. Cavs fans have not seen Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard this season, essentially due to rest. That’s unfair to the fans, and something should be done.

What’s Next:

The Cavs continue their three-game homestand on Tuesday against the Heat.

Best of the Rest:

-The Clippers had six players in double figures as Brandon Boston Jr led the way with 24 points off the bench.

-Donovan Mitchell, who returned after missing two games with a groin injury, scored 11 points for the Cavs.

-Back to Osman, According to Cavs Notes, Osman is just the third player in team history to finish a game a perfect 7-7 or better from three(Kyrie Irving (7-7, 3/12/15) and Mo Williams (7-7, 11/28/09).

In addition, on Sunday, Osmam moved up to number six in threes made in team history.

-Kevin Love(back) missed his third straight game.

Cavs run out of gas in OKC

The Cavs(30-21) finished their three-game road trip in OKC against the Thunder(24-25) on Friday night. Cleveland was without Donovan Mitchell(groin), Ricky Rubio(rest), and Kevin Love(back) and was on a second half of a back-to-back after their win over the Rockets in Houston on Thursday night.

Cleveland led early but faded late and fell to the Thunder 112-100 at Paycom Center.

The Cavs finished their three-game road trip 1-2.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Thunder.

The Great:

Darius Garland led the Cavs with 31 points and 13 assists. 23 of his 31 points came in the second half.

Evan Mobley had another strong performance with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks. This was Mobley’s second straight 20-10 game, and Mobley grabbed his 1,000th career rebound on Friday night.

Not So Great:

Caris LeVert was 1/12 from the field, including 0/6 from deep; he finished with two points and nine assists. Without Mitchell, the Cavs needed LeVert to be better. 

Second Half: Cleveland led 54-47 at halftime, but they were outscored 65-46 in the second half. OKC shot 59% from the field in that second half and 7/11 from deep, and they closed the game the right way. Conversely, the Cavs shot 39% from the field.

Bottom Line:

No Mitchell, no Love, and no Rubio, and the Cavs just ran out of gas in the second half of a back-to-back. The Cavs did not have the energy to hold OKC off.

However, this is not a bad loss. You’re without your best player on a back-to-back against a solid Thunder team on the road, so the loss is excusable.

The Cavs are a very good team, but their road woes(10-16) prevent them from being great.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home on Sunday to face the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Best of the Rest:

-Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 35 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Jalen Williams added 17 points, including 3/3 from deep; Josh Giddey chipped in with 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

-Jarrett Allen had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers.

Cavs fall to Knicks at MSG

The Cavaliers began a three-game road trip in New York against the Knicks on Tuesday night.

In this contest, Cleveland(29-20) trailed by as many as 11 points in the fourth, but they were able to tie the score at 100 with just over two minutes to go. However, New York(26-23) would score the next five points, and with 04.4 seconds left, Donovan Mitchell would miss a driving layup; Evan Mobley would miss a turnaround jump shot, and the Knicks would hold on to defeat Cleveland 105-103 at Madison Square Garden.

Julius Randle had game-highs of 36 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way for the Knicks. 

The Cavs have lost three of four, while the Knicks end a four-game losing streak.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of Cavs’ loss to the Knicks.

The Great:

Jarrett Allen had his 18th double-double of the season as he had a season-high tying 24 points to go along with 12 boards and a block. Allen continues to be a dominant force in the middle for Cleveland.

Donovan Mitchell didn’t shoot it well(9/24 FG), but he did have 24 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and four steals. It felt like he was going to bring the Cavs back in the fourth, but they just fell short.

Not So Great:

First QuarterThe Knicks shot 57% from the field and 67% from deep in the first quarter. New York scored a game-best 34 points in the quarter and led by seven after one. New York’s Randle scored 17 points in the first quarter. 

Bench Play: Cleveland only got 12 points from their bench, and they were outscored by New York’s bench 27-12. The Cavs could have used just a little more from the bench against the Knicks.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland just was not at their best against the Knicks, and they just could not get over the hump in the fourth. The Cavs continued to struggle away from the friendly confines of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as they fell to 9-15 on the road. As said numerous times, they have to be more consistent on the road.

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads to Houston to play the Rockets on Thursday night.

Best of the Rest:

R.J. Barrett had 16 points, and Jalen Brunson added 14 points for the Knicks.

Darius Garland, who had 22 points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals, recorded his 4,000th point on Tuesday night. Evan Mobley added 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.

Cavs fall to shorthanded Warriors

The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the shorthanded Golden State Warriors on Friday night. The Warriors, who lost to the Celtics on Thursday night in OT, were without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins due to rest. 

However, none of that mattered.

After trailing by double-digits for most of the second half, the Cavs, who were down by as many as 20 points, cut the Warriors’ lead to four with two minutes left in the fourth, but Ty Jerome hit a three on the next possession, and the Warriors defeated the Cavs 120-114 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland(28-19), who was without Donovan Mitchell(groin) for the second straight game, have lost two straight and three out of their last four.

Here’s The Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Warriors.

Darius Garland led the way for Cleveland with 31 points, nine assists, and two steals. Eighteen of Garland’s 31 points came in the first half. He didn’t shoot it that great(10/25 FG, 3/11 3-PT FG), but he did his part.

Defense: Cleveland gave up 120 points to Ty Jerome, Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, and others. Golden State lit them up from downtown. The Warriors made 23 threes and shot 54% from deep. Poole(5) and Jerome(3) made a combined eight threes. WOW!!

Rebounding: The Warriors outrebounded the Cavs 45-35. That’s unacceptable. That means you let Golden State outwork you!!

Third Quarter: Golden State shot 58% from the field, including 60% from deep in the third. The Warriors had their largest lead of 20 points in the quarter. Again, they just wanted it more!!

Even without Mitchell, this loss is super unacceptable. The Warriors sat pretty much their whole starting lineup. In many ways, the Warriors were willing to give this game up, but crazy things happen in the NBA.

This was the Cavs’ worst performance of the season! Again, Unacceptable!!

What’s Next:

Cavs host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Poole led the Warriors with a game-high 32 points; Jerome had 22 points, DiVincenzo added 17 points, and Kevon Looney chipped in with four points and 17 rebounds. 

Golden State had six players in double figures.

-For the Cavs, Caris LeVert had 22 points, including five threes. Evan Mobley added 17 points and eight rebounds.

-Ricky Rubio(injury management) did not play Friday night.

The Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ win over Pelicans

Cleveland returned home on Monday night to face the New Orleans Pelicans after a 2-3 west coast road trip.

The Cavs(28-17), who got off to a slow start, trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half. However, Cleveland finally woke up in the second half and defeated the Pelicans(26-18) 113-103 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Donovan Mitchell left in the third quarter with a groin injury and did not return.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Pelicans.

Great:

Darius Garland scored 25 of his game-high 30 points in the second half. In addition, he added 11 assists. Garland got off to a slow start, but he was big in the second half, especially the fourth, where he scored 14 points.

Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley: Allen(9/12) had a season-high tying 24 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, while Mobley(8/10) had 19 points and eight rebounds. The two were a combined 17/22 from the field, and Allen was big in the fourth as he had 12 points.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs played their best ball in the final stanza. Garland and Allen combined for 26 of the team’s 35 points in the quarter. From the end of the third into the fourth, Cleveland went on a 15-0 run and never relinquished the lead.

The Cavs outscored the Pelicans 35-22 in the fourth. 

Not So Great:

Cleveland’s turnovers were high(15), and the first half wasn’t the best, but they still got the job done.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland got off to a slow start; maybe it was because it was an afternoon game, but credit them for bouncing back in the second half as they continue to be dominant at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mitchell did leave with a groin injury, and hopefully, that’s nothing serious.

What’s Next:

Cleveland travels to Memphis to battle the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. 

Best of the Rest:

-C.J. McCollum led the Pelicans with 25 points; Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 13 rebounds.

-Donovan Mitchell and Isaac Okoro had 11 points apiece.

-Cleveland is now 19-4 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

-According to Cavs Notes, this was Cleveland’s 11th win this season after trailing by at least 10 points.

Cavs fall short in Minnesota

The Cavaliers(27-17) finished their five-game road trip in Minnesota against the Timberwolves(22-22) on Saturday night.

In this contest, Cleveland had their largest lead of 14 points in the third quarter, but behind 26 points from Anthony Edwards and 56 points from their bench, Minnesota defeated the Cavs 110-102 at Target Center.

Cleveland finished their five-game road trip 2-3.

Here’s the Great, the Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Timberwolves.

Great:

Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley led the way with 19 points apiece. Allen was 8/10 from the field, while Mobley was 6/11. Allen added eight rebounds and two blocks, while Mobley chipped in with eight boards.

Not So Great:

Donovan Mitchell had been battling an illness, and it impacted his play. Mitchell was 5/16 from the field, including 2/9 from deep. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds, and six assists. In fact, the Cavs’ backcourt combined for only 29 points. Darius Garland had 15 points for Cleveland.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 18 turnovers, which led to 28 points for Minnesota. Five of their 18 turnovers were in the fourth, and the Timberwolves scored 13 points off those fourth-quarter turnovers. It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over at that rate.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs led 80-77 after three quarters, but defensively, they fell apart in the fourth. Minnesota shot 73% from the field in the final quarter, and much of that production came from their bench. Jaylen Nowell(eight points), Luke Garza(seven points), Naz Reid(five points), and Austin Rivers(four points) combined for 24 of Minnesota’s 33 fourth-quarter points.  Minnesota outscored Cleveland 33-22 in the fourth.

Overall, Minnesota shot 56% from the field. 

Bottom Line:

The five-game road trip ends in disappointment. Again, it comes down to being able to close out games. Two(Minnesota, Utah) of the three losses on this trip came down to being unable to finish the job. They will have to learn how to do that on the road. Winning in the NBA is challenging, and winning on the road is even more challenging, but elite teams figure it out.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home on Monday to face the Pelicans on MLK Jr. Day.

Best of the Rest:

-Caris LeVert had 12 points off the bench for Cleveland.

-Rudy Gobert(groin) did not play in the second half.

-Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, who both were drafted and played for the Timberwolves, checked in together in the first quarter and received a massive ovation from the crowd. Rubio was playing his second game after returning from a torn ACL.

-With the win, Minnesota(2-0) sweeps the season-series versus the Cavs.

Cavs’ Mitchell shines in return to Utah, but it wasn’t enough

On Tuesday night, Donovan Mitchell came back to Utah for the first time since the trade that sent him to Cleveland in the offseason.

In his return, Mitchell, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Jazz, got a lot of cheers from the fans in Utah.

However, while he was special(46 points), the Cavs(26-16) would fall to the Jazz(20-22) 116-114 at Vivint Arena.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Jazz.

Great:

Donovan Mitchell returned to Utah and balled out. He scored 17 of his 46 points(14/27 FG, 7/18 3-PT FG) in the fourth to go along with five rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Mitchell brought the Cavs all the way back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit, but it wasn’t enough.

In the loss, Mitchell recorded his 500th career steal. 

Darius Garland had 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists as the Cavs’ backcourt combined for 67 of the team’s 114 points.

First 10:37 of the Fourth Quarter: At one point in the fourth, Mitchell scored 10 straight for the Cavs and gave them a 101-94 lead with just over six minutes to go, which was their largest lead of the quarter. It appeared, at that point, that Cleveland was in control.

Not So Great:

The last 1:23 of the Fourth Quarter: The last 1:23 belonged to Jordan Clarkson, who scored 15 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth.

With the Cavs leading 107-102, Clarkson took over. He hit a step-back three, plus the foul, which was ruled a flagrant foul on Caris LeVert, and with the free throw, the score was 107-106.

Because of the flagrant foul, Utah would retain possession of the ball.  Clarkson was again fouled by LeVert shooting a three, and he made all three free throws to give Utah a 109-107 lead.

With 40 seconds to go, and Utah leading 109-107, Clarkson would hit a floater to seal the deal. 

Rebounding: The Jazz outrebounded the Cavs 54-37 in this contest and had 27-second chance points. The Cavs played most of the game without their starting center and leading rebounder Jarrett Allen, who left the game in the first quarter with an illness and did not return. 

Bottom Line:

This was an emotional night, and again, it appeared Mitchell was going to have a happy homecoming, but as J.B.Bickertstaff had said about the Cavs in the past, they have to learn how to close out games on the road. This was a perfect example of not closing the deal.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return to action on Thursday night in Portland against the Blazers.

Best of the Rest:

Lauri Markkanen had 25 points and 16 rebounds against his former team. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Malik Beasley, and Mike Conley each had 13 points.

For the Cavs, Evan Mobley had 12 points and seven rebounds; LeVert had 12 points, and Lamar Stevens added 11 off the bench.

Back to Mitchell, according to Elias Sports, his 46 points were the second-most in a player’s first road game versus a former team.

Cavs dominate Suns in the fourth to get road win

The Cavs(26-15) continued their five-game road trip in Phoenix against the Suns on Sunday night. After resting in the team’s loss to the Nuggets on Friday night, Cleveland got back their leading scorer Donovan Mitchell. 

Fortunately for the Cavs, the Suns(20-21) were without their starting backcourt of Chris Paul(hip) and Devin Booker(groin), and ultimately, Cleveland led by as many as 22 points and defeated Phoenix 112-98 at Footprint Center.

With the win, the Cavs, who beat the Suns 90-88 last week at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, swept the season-series.

Cleveland has won four out of their last five, while the Suns have lost six straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Suns.

Great:

Starting Backcourt: Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland had 22 points apiece. Garland added seven assists. Mitchell and Garland combined for 44 points, and they were reunited, and it felt so good.

Jarrett Allen had his team-leading 15th double-double on Sunday with 13 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, and a season-high five assists. 

Shooting: Cleveland shot 57% from the field against the Suns. Cleveland made 11 threes on Sunday night, but most of their damage came in the paint, as the Cavs had 52 points in the paint.

According to Cavs Notes, this is their highest field goal percentage in any road game since 2015.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs took an 80-79 lead into the fourth, and they took over from there. Cleveland went on a 23-4 run to take a 103-83 lead with just under four minutes to go. The Cavs shot 66% from the field in the fourth, outscored the Suns 32-19 in the quarter, and a close game became a rout!

Not So Great:

After that fourth quarter for the Cavs, there are no complaints. Turnovers(14) were a little high, but hey, they won.

Bottom Line:

In the NBA, when you have an opportunity to defeat a team that is down, you have to get the job done, and that’s what the Cavs did on Sunday night. They took advantage of a depleted Suns team. 

The Cavs have reached the halfway point of their schedule, and after 41 games, here are a few things we know about this team:

-Donovan Mitchell is the real deal

-The Cavs are an outstanding home team(18-4) 

-The Cavs are a mediocre road team(8-11)

-Cleveland is a great defensive team(the number one-rated defensive team in NBA)

-They are legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference and could make a deep playoff run

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads to Utah to battle the Jazz on Tuesday night as Mitchell faces off against his former team.

Best of the Rest:

Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro had 14 points apiece, and Caris LeVert had 13 points off the bench. Cleveland had six players in double figures, including all five starters.

For the Suns, Duane Washington Jr. led the Suns with 25 points off the bench, and Deandre Ayton had a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.