Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 standouts of second half so far

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland drives to the basket. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers went into the All-Star break winners of four of their final five games. However, due to injuries to several key players, the Cavaliers performance post-All-Star break has been up and down.

The Wine and Gold have had some impressive performances, sure, and some duds.

But through the inconsistency, there have been a few standout performers over the past 19 games, in particular.

We’ll hit on those Cavs here, with three that come to mind especially.

The first of those Cavaliers is second-year guard Darius Garland.

Cavs standout #1 of second half so far: Darius Garland

After an up-and-down rookie campaign that saw Garland average 12.3 points and 3.9 assists per game, the jury was still out on the Cavaliers second-year guard coming into the 2020-21 season.

His prior meniscus injury that cut his lone collegiate season at Vanderbilt short reportedly still having been in the back of his mind in Year 1 did likely play into that underwhelming campaign, though, in fairness.

Albeit plenty of instances throughout the first half of the season, Garland flashed his potential, such as when he put up 21 points and 12 assists against the Detroit Pistons in December and later in February when Garland poured in 19 points while dishing out 11 assists.

Overall for the first half of the season, Garland put up 16 points and 5.9 assists on 44 percent shooting overall and 38.4 percent from beyond the arc. Heading into the second half of the season, arguably the biggest question surrounding Garland is whether he could sustain that productivity.

Garland showed in spurts that he could be an effective score-first guard, but that wasn’t seemingly as much of a strength of his, or at least not consistently enough. Through the second half of the season thus far, Garland is showing that scoring mentality more often. A reason for Garland’s uptick in scoring could be due to the injuries sustained by other Cavaliers guards.

It is no secret Cleveland lacks depth at guard, and especially with Sexton out of the lineup for a handful of games, it has allowed (or even forced at times) Garland to look to score the ball.

Just this month, Garland had his most impressive performance of his young career when he torched the San Antonio Spurs for 37 points on 64 percent shooting (including 5-10 from three-point range) and also dished out seven assists.

Overall, Garland’s post-All-Star break stat line shows he is scoring more per game (18.4 points) and is also hitting over 42 percent of his three-point shots while also dishing out 6.1 assists per game. While this is a relatively small sample size (19 games), it is a positive sign for Garland that he is getting more confident on the court.

Garland is not the only Cavalier stepping up in the second half, though. The second standout that comes to mind is Dean Wade, who has made the most of his extended burn.