Cavs’ Mitchell: ‘We can be good for a long time’

In the 2020-21 NBA season, the Utah Jazz had the best record in the league and was poised to make a deep playoff run. That season, Utah had three All-Stars, including star guard Donovan Mitchell. 

However, Utah fell short in the second round of the playoffs as they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in six games. That season may have given Mitchell his best opportunity to win an NBA title until now.

Earlier this month, the three-time All-Star was dealt to the Cavaliers. According to Mitchell, Cleveland, who had two All-Stars in Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland last season, and a player on the rise in Evan Mobley, has the most talent he has ever been around.

“You look at the youth we have, top three team before a lot of injuries,” Mitchell told goforitradio’s Paul Gant at Cavs’ Media Day. “I’m the oldest starter. That’s truly impressive. That’s no sleight to the team we had in Utah. We had a very talented team, but a lot of our guys were older. Mike(Conley) was older, Joe(Ingles) was older, Bojan(Bogdanović), Rudy(Gobert). Those guys were older. Now, you look at the guys here, 21, 22, 20, whatever it is. We have a lot of promise, but ultimately, we have to go out there and put the work in… If we do the right thing, which starts with camp, we can be in good shape.”

As Mitchell mentioned, Cleveland has youth, but more importantly, they have talented youth. Mitchell is only 26; the Cavs have a 22-year-old Garland, a 21-year-old Mobley, and a 24-year-old Allen, so this team can be good for a long time, and Mitchell agrees.

“We have a lot of talent; we can be good for a long time,” Mitchell said. “But, ultimately, we have to do what needs to be done… We have a group that wants to win, that wants to be good, that wants to compete. We have, not just myself, like I said, Ev(Mobley), DG(Garland), JA(Jarrett Allen), Caris LeVert, K-Love(Kevin Love); we just signed Dean Wade to an extension, who is a really big piece of what we do… We have a young, hungry group that wants to compete and wants to win.”

Things could be special in Cleveland for the next few seasons, and Mitchell could be the guy that leads the way. While Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman says it’s not “contention or bust” this season, the expectation is for the Cavs to be one of the top teams in the East and at least win a round in the playoffs.

Regarding this being the most talent Mitchell has been around in his career, those Jazz teams were talented, but if things develop in Cleveland like many think it will, this team has the potential to be more talented.

Listen to interview with Mitchell below:

Featured

Listen to Go4i! Guest: Cavs F Dean Wade

Listen to Go4it! Guest: Cavs F Dean Wade on Wednesday at 7 pm ET.

We discussed many topics, including:

-The acquisition of Donovan Mitchell

-Upcoming season

-Wade’s role in Cleveland

-Being title contenders

-Evan Mobley

-Kevin Love

According to Wade, the Cavs are one of the top teams in the NBA. 

Follow on Twitter: @goforitradiocom

Like on Facebook: Facebook.com/goforitradio

Subscribe on Youtube: Youtube.com/goforitradio

Listen here: 

The upstart Cavs will have nine national television games in 2022-23 season

The Cleveland Cavaliers will open the 2022-23 season in Toronto on Oct. 19 against the Raptors, the team announced Wednesday.

The team will play its home opener on Sunday, Oct. 23, against the Wizards.

Cleveland, who went 44-38 last season but missed the playoffs after falling to the Nets and Hawks in the Play-In Tournament, will make nine national television appearances in the 2022-23 season.

List of national television appearances:

-Two games on TNT (Dec. 6 vs. L.A. Lakers and Feb. 2 vs. Memphis).

-Three games on ESPN (Feb. 10 at New Orleans, March 1 at Boston and March 15 vs. Philadelphia).

-Four games on NBA TV (Nov. 7 at L.A. Clippers, Dec. 26 vs. Brooklyn, March 10 at Miami and March 21 at Brooklyn).

Highlights of the home schedule:

-NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Jan. 20

-Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics on Nov. 2 and March 6.

Cleveland will also host the New Orleans Pelicans for a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee game on Jan. 16.

-Additional marquee opponents coming to Cleveland only once this season include the L.A. Lakers on Dec. 6, the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 17, the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 4, the L.A. Clippers on Jan. 29 and the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 23.

Schedule notes:

-The Cavaliers will match up against each Eastern Conference opponent four times with the exception of Washington (two home, one road), Atlanta (one home, two road), Philadelphia (two home, one road) and Brooklyn (one home, two road).Each Western Conference opponent will play the Cavaliers twice – once at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and once on the road.

-23 home weekend dates including eight home Friday games, five home Saturday games and nine home Sunday games.

-12 sets of back-to-back games, including four road-road sets (Nov. 6-7, Nov. 27-28, Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 5-6), three road-home sets (Oct. 22-23, Feb. 10-11 and March 14-15), four home-home sets (Nov. 20-21, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17 and Jan. 20-21) and one home-road set (Feb. 23-24).

-The Cavaliers will have a six-game homestand from Dec. 16-26, featuring contests versus Indiana (Dec. 16), Dallas (Dec. 17), Utah (Dec. 19), Milwaukee (Dec. 21), Toronto (Dec. 23) and Brooklyn (Dec. 26). It marks Cleveland longest homestand since six straight home games during the 2019-20 season.

-Cleveland’s longest road trip spans five games over nine days from Jan 6-14; the team also has a five-game road trip over eight days from Nov. 4-11, one four-game road trip (March 8-14), two three-game road trips (Nov. 25-29, Jan. 24-27) and six two-game road trips (Oct. 19-22, Dec. 12-14, Dec. 29-31, Feb. 5-6, March 21-23 and April 4-6).

-The Cavaliers will play games on Veterans Day (Nov. 11 at Golden State), Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 23 vs. Portland), New Years Eve (Dec. 31 at Chicago), MLK Day (Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans) and on Easter (April 9 vs. Charlotte).

-Two matinee games at home this season – Monday, Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans (MLK Day) and Sunday, April 9 vs. Charlotte (Easter).

-The Cavaliers will play 16 games in November and January, their most in any months during the 2022-23 season. Cleveland will also play six games in October, 15 games in December, 11 games in February, 14 games in March and four games in April.

The Cavaliers will wrap up the 2022-23 regular season schedule at home against the Charlotte Hornets on April 9.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 5.57.28 PM

Cavs announce four-game preseason schedule

The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their four-game preseason slate on October 5 on the road against the 76ers, the team announced Wednesday.

After the 76ers, Cleveland will have back-to-back games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse against the 76ers (October 10) and Hawks(October 12). The Cavs will conclude their preseason schedule at Orlando on October 14.

With young talents like Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen, The Cavs, who were the seventh seed(44-38) in the East but were unable to make it to the playoffs after losing to the Hawks and Nets in the Play-In Tournament, hope to take that next step in the 2022-23 NBA season.

2022 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PRESEASON GAME SCHEDULE

Date              Opponent                                  Time (ET)

Oct. 5            at Philadelphia                          7:00 p.m.

Oct. 10          PHILADELPHIA                          7:00 p.m.

Oct. 12          ATLANTA                                   7:00 p.m.

Oct. 14          at Orlando                                 7:00 p.m.

Official: Cavs’ Garland gets rookie max extension

The Cleveland Cavaliers made it official as they announced on Saturday that they have signed guard Darius Garland to a multi-year contract extension.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Garland agrees to a five-year, $193 million rookie max extension, which can become worth $231 million with All-NBA escalators.

“Darius has proven to be a tremendous basketball player and someone who embodies everything a franchise would want in a young player,” said Altman. “We’ve quickly seen Darius grow into an NBA All-Star and an integral core piece in our pursuit of sustainable success. Both on and off the court, Darius has demonstrated a strong commitment to this organization and the community. We look forward to our future and what we can accomplish here in Cleveland.”

Garland, a first-time NBA All-Star this past season, appeared in 68 games (all starts) and registered career highs in points (21.7), rebounds (3.3), assists (8.6, sixth-best in NBA), steals (1.31), minutes (35.7), field goal percentage (.462) and free throw percentage (.892, seventh-best in NBA). He also had more double-doubles (29), 20-point games (42) and 30-point games (seven) this season than his first two NBA campaigns combined. The third-year guard joined LeBron James as the only players in franchise history to finish a season averaging at least 20.0 points and 8.0 assists and was just one of only five NBA players to do so this season (Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Luka Dončić, James Harden). Garland helped lead the Cavaliers to a 44-38 record, their best mark since 2017-18, and finished third place in the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year voting.

The 6-1 guard was one of only two NBA players to average at least 20.0 points and 8.0 assists while shooting .450 or better from the field and .850 from the foul line (Trae Young). Garland also recorded 29 point-assist double-doubles and 19 games of at least 20 points and 10 assists, both were the fourth-most in the entire NBA. He earned NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for the week of Jan. 10-16 and had a stretch of five straight games with at least 10 assists in January (Jan. 15-24), becoming just the second Cavs player to accomplish that feat since 2003 (LeBron James). Additionally, Garland became the fourth-youngest player in Cavaliers history to notch a triple-double in a win at Utah on Jan. 12 (LeBron James, Brad Daugherty, Kyrie Irving) and just the third player in NBA history to have a game of at least 27 points, 18 assists and five rebounds before age 22 during Cleveland’s victory at Oklahoma City on Jan. 15 (Trae Young, Luka Dončić).

Garland, who was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by Cleveland, has appeared in 181 career games (177 starts) with averages of 17.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.09 steals in 33.4 minutes over three NBA seasons. He is also the fastest Cavaliers player to make 300 career three-pointers, doing so in his 147th game (Jan. 9 at Golden State), and already ranks 11th in team history in threes made (384).

Darius Garland signs rookie max extension with Cavs

After having the best season of his career, Cavs point guard Darius Garland just got paid.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Klutch Sports, Garland agrees to a five-year, $193 million rookie max extension, which can become worth $231 million with All-NBA escalators.

This is the largest contract in team history. 

Last season, the 22-year-old Garland, who was a first-time All-Star in 2021-22, averaged a career-best 21.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per contest. 

The third-year guard is the face of the franchise and led the team to their best record since 2017-18 at 44-38 as Cleveland fell to the Nets and Hawks in the play-in tournament. Garland played like one of the best guards in the NBA last season, and he appears to have the character and work ethic to only get better.

Cavs sign first-round pick Agbaji and second-round pick Mobley:

On Saturday, the Cavs announced that they have signed guard Ochai Agbaji (6-5, 215), who was selected by Cleveland with the 14th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Agbaji started in all 39 games this past season as a senior at Kansas, averaging a Big-12 leading 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in a team-high 35.0 minutes.

Also, the team announced on Saturday that they have signed rookie forward Isaiah Mobley to a two-way contract, and on Sunday, Cleveland announced that they have signed guard R.J. Nembhard to a two-way contract.

Nembhard (6-5, 200), who went undrafted out of Texas Christian University in 2021, originally signed a two-way contract with Cleveland on Oct. 16 and appeared in 14 games for the Cavaliers this past season.

The 6-10 Mobley, who was selected in the second round(49th pick) of this year’s draft, appeared in 32 games (all starts) as a junior for USC this past season, averaging team-highs in points (14.2) and rebounds (8.3) in 34.1 minutes. His brother Evan Mobley was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection for the Cavaliers this past season and was selected with the 3rd pick by the Cavaliers in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Cavs’ Altman on team: ‘They captivated the city and put the league on notice’

On Tuesday, Cleveland Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman addressed the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. The Cavs’ season ended at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night as they fell to the Hawks in the Play-In Tournament.

“I’m still a little heartsick, to be honest with you,” Altman said about not making the playoffs. “It’s hard to process the season ending the way it did.”

J.B. Bickerstaff helped Cleveland improve by 22 wins from a year ago and finished the season 44-38, but despite the success, they fell short of the playoffs.

However, according to Atman, the Cavs have caught the attention of teams around the league.

“They captivated the city and put the league on notice, forced the league to put us on a national TV game because they had to, and more of that will come.”

Altman felt this season was a success, but Cleveland does have some questions, and one of the biggest questions is what will happen with Collin Sexton, who missed 71 games with a torn meniscus and can become a restricted free agent at season’s end if the Cavs extend a qualifying offer of $7.2 million.

The 23-year-old Sexton will probably be back in Cleveland next season based on what Altman said today.

“He, in a lot of ways, was the start of not only the rebuild, but the culture that we have in place now,” Altman said. “He’s enormously important to us. He’s been enormously important to us. To lose him, you can see throughout the year why we missed him, how we missed him, so we owe Collin a great deal of gratitude for the work he’s put in and continues to put in, (he) an important part of this team.”

Caris LeVert came over from the Pacers in a trade back in February. Altman believes both LeVert and Sexton, who have a similar skillset and play the same position, can thrive together in Cleveland.

“Yes, there’s a place for that level of talent, especially with the character that they bring and the fact that both really love it here,” Altman said.

It’s one thing to be a surprise team, but it’s another thing to win when the expectations are high, so the challenge for Altman and the players is to be even better next season.

“We’re not going to surprise teams next year,” Altman said. “I think we were two games out of being in sixth place. So like, it’s that close. We don’t want to lose grasp of what got us here, which is the hard work in the summer. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, so how do we keep that hunger, that humbleness, and attack this offseason?”

From top to bottom, the Eastern Conference will be tough next season, and Cleveland could be better next season and still be fighting to make the playoffs. They have a young, talented core.Obviously, they have three guys they can build around in All-Stars, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley.

In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so the future is very bright. However, sometimes that next step is the hardest step, and the Cavs are hoping to take that next step next season.

Cavs’ season was a huge success, but a massive disappointment at the same time

After falling to the Nets Tuesday night in Brooklyn in the Play-In Tournament, the Cavs had one more chance to get into the playoffs when they hosted the Atlanta Hawks Friday night.

It’s win or go home!

The Cavs got All-Star center Jarrett Allen back after he missed 19 games(including Play-In Tournament) with a fractured finger. Cleveland had their largest lead of 14 points in the first half and led by 10 at the half. However, Trae Young happened! The All-Star had 32 of his 38 points in the second half as the Hawks defeated the Cavs 107-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavs season ends, while the Hawks capture the eighth seed and move on to face the Heat in first round of the playoffs, which begins Sunday in Miami. 

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Hawks:

The Great for the Cavs:

-Lauri Markkanen played like he did not want to go home. He had 17 of his team-high 26 points in the first half to along with eight rebounds. Markkanen shot 10/17 from the field, including 6/12 from deep. Unfortunately, he did have a bad pass that was stolen by Kevin Huerter late in the fourth, which sealed the deal for the Hawks, but all and all, Markkanen did his job Friday night.

-Evan Mobley will be a special player, and he played well against the Hawks. The rookie had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Just like Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the moment was not too big for Mobley.

-Darius Garland struggled with his shot(9/27 FG), but he battled through it and finished with 21 points, nine assists, and three steals; however,  he did turn the ball over five times.

First Half:  The Cavs fed off their crowd in the first half. Cleveland shot 52% from the floor in the first quarter, including 67%(6/9) from deep. The Cavs led 36-25 after one. Cleveland made 10 threes in the first half and got great looks. In addition, they held the Hawks to 17%(3/17) from three-point range, and Cleveland led 61-51 at the break. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Third Quarter: Great players do great things, and Young is a great player. Young woke up after being held to six points in the first half. He either scored or assisted on 27 of the Hawks’ 33 points in the quarter. He finished with 16 points in the third. Atlanta shot 61% from the floor(4/8 3-PT FG). The Hawks outscored the Cavs 33-23 in the quarter, took their first lead late in the third, and erased a 10-point halftime deficit. The game was knotted at 84, heading into the fourth.

Second Half Offense: The offense stagnated in the second half, and some credit has to go to Atlanta’s defense, which stiffened. Cleveland did not get the same looks they had in the first half. You often saw some 911 shots with the shot clock running down from the Cavs, and they had two shot-clock violations early in the fourth. After scoring 61 points in the first, Cleveland was held to 40 points in the second half. In the fourth, they shot only 33% from the field, including 1/8 from downtown. After making 10 threes in the first half, the Cavs made only three more the rest of the way.

Bench: The Hawks’ bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 25-9. Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo were not much of a factor in this contest. Maybe Love could have gotten more minutes, but Atlanta was trying to go after him on the defensive end. The Cavs’ starters were a combined +10, while the bench was a combined -40.

Bottom Line:

It’s kind of stunning how the season ended for Cleveland. At one point, especially after the addition of Caris LeVert, many thought this team could make a deep playoff run. Now, just like that, it’s over!

The season was a success. Players like Garland and Jarrett Allen grew and became All-Stars, and Evan Mobley looks like a star. LeVert will have a whole training camp to get acclimated with the team, and maybe they’ll bring back soon-to-be restricted free agent Collin Sexton or move him to get another piece. In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so that’s another opportunity to improve this roster. Youth is on their side as Garland, Allen, Mobley, and Markkanen are all under 25.

Even in saying the season was a success, it feels like a disappointment at the same time. They were in striking distance of the top spot in the East for most of the season, but the day that destroyed the season was March 6. Cleveland defeated Toronto in that game and was 37-27 and was the sixth seed in the East with a three-game lead over the seventh-seeded Raptors. However, Allen fractured his finger and missed the final 18 games of the regular season. During that stretch, the Cavs went 7-11. Also, during that stretch, Mobley went down with an ankle injury and missed five games. They overcame the injuries of Sexton and Ricky Rubio, but they did not overcome Allen’s injury.

Again, a fantastic season for the Cavs, and the future seems bright. However, from top to bottom, the East will be challenging, and here’s also the thing: Cleveland is not sneaking up on anyone, so expectations have changed, which means the pressure is on this young group to get better. We’ll see how they’ll respond next season.

What’s Next:

The offseason! It was a fun season!

Best of the Rest:

-LeVert had 16 points for the Cavs as all five starters scored in double figures. Allen, who was basically playing with one hand, had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a block.

-Bogdan Bogdanovic had 19 points for the Hawks off the bench. 

-During the second quarter, Clint Capela suffered a right knee hyperextension after fouling Mobley. According to the team. he will undergo an MRI in Miami, and his status will be updated as appropriate.

Watch below as Garland and Mobley react to the loss to Atlanta:

Cavs start slow, finish strong but fall in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to punch their ticket to the NBA Playoffs when they battled the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament.

Cleveland never led and trailed by 20 points after the first quarter and was down by as many as 22. The Cavs battled back and cut the lead to five late in the game; however, they could not get any closer as the Nets defeated Cleveland 115-108. 

Kyrie Irving had 34 points(12/15 FG, 3/6 3-PT FG) and 12 assists; Irving made his first 12 shots; Kevin Durant added 25 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, and three blocks.

The Nets get the seventh seed in the East and will battle the second seed, the Boston Celtics. The Cavs will try to get the eighth seed Friday night against the winner of Hornets/Hawks.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:

The Great for the Cavs:

Darius Garland scored 16 of his 34 points in the fourth. Garland scored the first nine points for Cleveland in the final quarter, and he tried to rescue the Cavs. 

The moment was not too big for him, and the moment has not been too big for him all season long. This is what you want from your best player in a big spot. The All-Star also added five assists and two steals. 

-The moment wasn’t too big for rookie Evan Mobley as well. He had 14 of his 19 points in the second half to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Mobley has been steady all season long, and he was steady Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

-Rajon Rondo morphed into “Playoff Rondo” against the Nets. He made the right play time after time. The stat line wasn’t super impressive as Rondo had seven points and nine assists in 26 minutes of action, but he got it done for the Cavs. Rondo and Caris LeVert were the only two Cavs with a positive rating(+2), and Rondo had the best rating in the second half for Cleveland at +9. 

Any Quarter but the First: Cleveland trailed by 20 after the first quarter, but they outscored Brooklyn by 13 points in the final three quarters. They held Brooklyn to 17 points in the second quarter. After shooting 35% in the first half, Cleveland shot 55% from the field, including 50% from deep in the second half. They scored 35 points in the fourth quarter on 55% shooting, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: Last Friday, the Cavaliers trailed Brooklyn 34-19 after one quarter, and Tuesday night, the Nets got off to another great start. Brooklyn shot 71% from the floor, including 67% from downtown. Kyrie Irving was 5/5 from the field and scored 11 points in the first quarter; he finished with 20 points in the first half on 9/9 shooting.

The Nets led 40-20 after one quarter and 57-43 at halftime.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 15 turnovers, which led to 24 points for Brooklyn. 

-Isaac Okoro: The second-year guard struggled with his shot Tuesday night. He was 0/3 from the field, all threes, and finished with zero points in 13 minutes. No one expects Okoro to score a bunch, but he had open looks, and he has to make some of those open shots.

Bottom Line:

You can’t spot Brooklyn 20 points and expect to win. Cleveland played well after the first quarter, but they were swimming upstream just like last Friday’s game.

Brooklyn could win a championship, so there is no shame in losing this game. Cleveland has two games to win one. Hopefully, they can get back their All-Star center Jarrett Allen. Cleveland is 35-21 with Allen this season and 9-17 without him, so getting him back would help.

Getting to the playoffs won’t be easy; it should be fun to see the excitement at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the winner of Hornets/Hawks in the Play-In Game.

Best of the Rest:

-Kevin Love had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds; Lauri Markkanen chipped in with 13 points, and LeVert had 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.  

-Bruce Brown had 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, and three steals; Andre Drummond chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Nic Claxton had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Listen below as Garland and Love discuss the team’s loss to Brooklyn:

Cavs fight but fall short in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a big one Friday night in Brooklyn against the Nets. The winner of this game would have possession of the seventh seed in the East.

Brooklyn led by as many as 17 points, but Cleveland did take their first lead in the third. However, Brooklyn dominated the fourth and defeated the Cavs 118-107 at Barclays Center.

Kevin Durant had a game-high 36 points; Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown added 18 points apiece; Brown also added 10 rebounds. All five of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double figures.

Cleveland(43-38) has now lost three straight and dropped to eighth in the East, while the Nets(43-38) have won three straight. Brooklyn won the season series(3-1) over the Cavs, which means they are the seventh seed.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:

The Great for the Cavs:

-Darius Garland played like a superstar against Brooklyn. He shot 12/24 from the field, including three threes, and finished with 31 points in 41 minutes of action. The All-Star scored 21 of those 31 points in the second and third quarters. He probably should have played the whole second half, but we’ll get to that later.

-Evan Mobley was back after missing five games with a sprained ankle, and he picked up where he left off. The rookie had 17 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. He also became the eighth Cavs rookie to go over 1000 points in a season. Mobley plays winning basketball, and everything he does contributes to winning.

-Lamar Stevens did not fill up the box score as he only had two points on 1/5 shooting from the field to go along with two rebounds, but he did defend his butt off in the third quarter when the Cavs were making their run. Kevin Durant still got his points; however, late in the third, he forced two Durant turnovers. It wasn’t enough, but give Stevens credit.

Second and Third Quarters: Cleveland trailed 34-19 after the first quarter and looked dead in the water. However, in the second quarter, things got better. Garland had 10 points in the quarter; Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 35-28 and trailed 62-54 at the break.

In the third, things got even better for the Cavs. Brooklyn led 70-60 with just under ten minutes left in the quarter, but Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 28-13 the rest of the third and led by as many as seven. Garland again was big time as he had 11 points in the quarter. The Cavs outscored Brooklyn 34-21 in the third and took an 88-83 lead into the fourth.

Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 69-49 in the second and third quarters.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: Cleveland did not get the start they wanted. Brooklyn shot 57% from the field, including 4/8 from deep. On the other hand, Cleveland shot 40% from the floor, including 0/7 from downtown. The Cavs had issues stopping Durant, who had 16 points in the quarter. Brooklyn took their largest lead of the game at 34-17 and led 34-19 after one. 

Second Chance Points: Brooklyn is a great offensive team. They are tough to stop, but they become even harder to control when you give them second and third chances. The Nets outrebounded the Cavs 45-31, and Brooklyn had 25-second chance points Friday night, which is a lot. Rebounding is a big part of defense, and Cleveland had difficulty closing the possessions with a rebound. 

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland had all the momentum going into the fourth, but the Nets have firepower for days, and it’s hard to keep them from scoring. Brooklyn went on a 10-4 run to start the fourth to take the lead for good. The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the fourth. The Cavs appeared to run out of gas in the fourth as the Nets outscored them 35-19 in the quarter.

The first 3:09 of the Fourth: You hate to be critical of anybody in this one, but Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff may have made a mistake by resting Garland early in the fourth. Garland was rolling, and so was the team while he was on the court. He did play the whole second and third quarters; however, Garland did get rest at halftime and before the start of the fourth. The Cavs should have ridden its young star to the end. Brooklyn took the lead back while Garland was on the bench and never relinquished it.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland battled in this one, and they played their hearts out, but Brooklyn is Brooklyn, so winning this game would be tough. The Cavs have to start better to beat a team of Brooklyn’s caliber.

Fortunately, the eighth-seeded Cavs got a little help as the Hawks fell to the Heat, which allowed Cleveland to hold the eighth seed and keep the eighth seed if they beat the Bucks in the season finale. The Cavs can still get the seventh seed, but they need to win and Brooklyn to lose to the Pacers at home, which is highly unlikely.

So, Cleveland could be returning to Brooklyn next Tuesday for the 7-8 game in the Play-In Tournament. 

However, unfortunately, Cleveland could fall to the 10th seed if they lose to the Bucks, and Charlotte(Wizards), Atlanta(@Rockets), and Brooklyn(Pacers) win their final game, which would be disastrous.

Getting the eighth seed won’t be easy for Cleveland as the Bucks are still fighting for the second seed in the East, so Sunday’s game should be very interesting.

Remember, the seventh and eighth seeds have two games to win one, while the ninth and tenth seeded teams have to win twice to make the playoffs.

Quotes:

“I’m proud of the way they played and proud of the effort that they played with, the way they kept coming back and staying in the game,” Bickerstaff said after the game.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the Bucks in the regular-season finale.

 Best of the Rest:

-Lauri Markkanen had 17 points; Caris LeVert added 16, and Kevin Love had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

-Andre Drummond had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds for Brooklyn.

-Cavs shot 8/27 from three-point range.

Listen below as the Garland and Drummond react to loss to Brooklyn: