Cavs: L to Pels was reminder of how Darius Garland is invaluable

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland looks to pass. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland looks to pass. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

It was one game, and the Cleveland Cavaliers were getting back Kevin Love (grade 2 right calf strain/reaggravation) and Larry Nance Jr. (fractured left hand) from both having been sidelined, albeit Love will be eased back in, and he played 10 minutes.

But either way, Cleveland getting blown out 116-82, and the Cavs having nine points in the third quarter was far from ideal.

And while I did like what I saw from Quinn Cook, who had 13 points and four rebounds in his first game with the Cavs during his current 10-day stint, the Cavs were missing Darius Garland in that one. With how Garland has come on this season in Year 2, we’re well-aware that he’s such a crucial player for the Wine and Gold.

This one again, to a large extent, demonstrated how DG is such a key contributor game-to-game for Cleveland.

Friday’s loss at the Pels was a reminder of how Garland is invaluable for the Cavs.

Garland has looked to have turned a corner this season, and with him not having his prior knee injury in the back of his mind from Vanderbilt seemingly then causing him to not be nearly himself, as was the case last season, that’s been huge.

Garland’s done a solid job, all things considered, this season, in which he’s had 16.1 points and 5.9 assists per outing. He’s hit 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts per outing as well.

To reiterate, though, the Cavaliers dearly missed DG in that Pels game, and most of the second half in Cleveland’s frustrating loss to the Indiana Pacers on March 3; that’s with how he penetrates, leading to shots for himself and others. Lobs to Jarrett Allen from Garland have often been on-point, and their pick-and-roll chemistry is seemingly coming along more and more, too.

Of course, the Cavs had rust after the All-Star break layoff, and they were getting Love and Nance back into the fold, but the squad in total had 13 assists, and with Matthew Dellavedova still not back yet, Cleveland was often out of sorts.

Again, I’m not reading into it necessarily a ton, and the Pelicans do have their share of offensive weapons, such as Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and others, and Lonzo Ball and company can really get up and down.

Nonetheless, while Collin Sexton has seemingly made strides as a passer, we know that he’s not the passer of Garland, who often opens up perimeter shooting and also cutting looks for Sexton, Isaac Okoro, Nance, Windler and others so well and with more ease. I’m looking forward to seeing Garland’s two-man game some with Kevin Love looking onward this season, too, for one.

Moreover, though again rust/reintegration of other pieces played into it, and it was only one game coming off a nine-day layoff, that Friday loss at the Pels was just reminder of how Garland is truly invaluable for the Cavs.

He just makes operations easier for the other guys, and his on-ball shot creation has been impressive this season with his ability to get to spots via hesitations/change of speeds and a great handle. Plus, in terms of shooting, Garland’s hit 44.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot triple attempts so far this season, per’s shot tracking data.

Although I thought Cook played pretty well and could perhaps end up being a second 10-day candidate, and Dellavedova hopefully could end up back sooner than later from a severe concussion/complications and he had an appendectomy a few weeks back, Friday’s L reiterated how key DG is.

dark. Next. Windler-Nance Jr. is a Cavs 2-man game to watch in the 2nd half

Let’s hope he’s back soon for the Cavs, and we’ll have to see if that ends up being on Sunday at the Atlanta Hawks.