They did it, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally got out of their losing streak that felt like forever but was really only 19 days, and were able to secure wins in all three games this past week.
Two of those W’s were at home in a back-to-back against the Houston Rockets and the Atlanta Hawks, with then one road win against the hot Philadelphia 76ers. Albeit in that Philly game on Saturday, Tobias Harris was sidelined. During the slump, they lost 14 of their 16 games and lost 10 in a row heading into the past week.
Now they not only snapped it but started a three-game winning streak, of which was extended to four with another win versus Houston, this time on the road on Monday. The Rockets are reeling, though, and clearly missing Christian Wood.
In regards to the Cavs, their young core continued to show promise this past week, including on Monday, and the player that stood out the most to earn the latest Player of the Week was Darius Garland.
Garland averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 assists, and was the Player of the Week for the Cavs during games from Feb. 22-March 1.
What I wanted to really see from Garland this season was a general improvement and the ability to be a highly capable primary playmaker next to Collin Sexton. He has certainly done that and it was highlighted this past week.
With Sexton’s scoring ability to be able to be utilized alongside Garland as the primary facilitator it creates the dynamic the Cavs had hoped for when drafting the two of them.
The overtime win over the 76ers was a great example of that, with Sexton putting up 28 points paired with Garland’s 25 points and nine assists, and they were able to secure a win over the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on their home court. Garland’s 25 points were a career-high, although 11 of those came in OT, but he clearly came up clutch.
Seeing the Cleveland Cavaliers’ young core flourish is great, but it’s even better to have it done when it matters most against legitimate contenders; again, I acknowledge that Harris was not active, though.
In any case, it is worth noting Sexton, who even had 39 points and eight assists at Houston on Monday after having stitches put in because of a busted lip at halftime, to go with Jarrett Allen, and Isaac Okoro all also had solid weeks. Sexton put up 23 or more in all of those outings, while Allen continued to get double-doubles in all four games along with four blocks in two of them.
Okoro showed progress as well, as he seemingly has in the past 5-6 games while showing less hesitation, but especially in the 76ers win, with a career-best 15 points, to go with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. He and Allen are both quality complementary pieces to our young backcourt, albeit Allen, especially.
The Cavs’ young core will look to try keep this momentum going into the second half of the season, which kicks off for them on March 12 at the New Orleans Pelicans, which is the first outing of a three-game road trip. And as a side note, although Garland reportedly tweaked his left groin on Monday at Houston in the third quarter, it didn’t appear too serious, as he helped Cleveland finish out the game.