Cleveland Cavaliers: Player of the Week for April 12-18

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers endured a rough week, going 1-2 in a stretch that included games against the likes of the Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, and Chicago Bulls.

The lone victory, a rather convincing one at that, came via the Hornets in a game that may have never really been in doubt as the Cavs, lead by Taurean Prince‘s 25 points off the bench, were able to outscore the Charlotte-based team in every quarter and didn’t look back.

Immediately following that were back-to-back losses to both the Warriors and Bulls respectively. The Warriors game further illustrated a theme that has become all too familiar for Cavs fans as Steph Curry (33 Points) and Co. continued their dominance over Cleveland improving their record to 5-0 against the squad dating back to Collin Sexton’s rookie season. This is a streak that Cleveland will have to end eventually and if Sexton (30 points) continues his overall development, they just might do so soon.

The last game of the week presented Cleveland with a chance to make up some ground in the ever-changing race for the Eastern Conference play-in. The Chicago Bulls, currently positioned 11th as of writing this, were without the services of All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine and were seemingly vulnerable.

The game was largely a back-and-forth affair in the first half as Cleveland went into the half with a 49-47 lead but couldn’t hold it as the Bulls took over down the stretch. The Cavs were able to make it a close one though as with just under 2:30 left in the game they cut the deficit to 96-93 but they would ultimately fall by the score of 106-96.

Despite the up and down week, a few Cavs players shined but one stands out in particular: Darius Garland.

Darius Garland continues to impress with his development as a scorer. He was able to put up averages of 19.6 points, 8.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds during this past week of April 12-18, with his 22-point, 12-assist (tied season and career-high) performance against the Bulls being his highlight. The second-year guard is starting to put it all together and the game honestly seems to be slowing down for him.

It is clear that he is the team’s leader on the floor and this offense will go as far as he can take them on most nights. Garland played 40 minutes against Chicago and he is averaging 35.0 per game since the start of April. The team will need him to continue to play heavy minutes because of a lack of playmaking outside of the starting unit, aside from Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova’s lack of scoring abilities at this point can limit his playmaking abilities at times, though.

From there, Collin Sexton played pretty well too as he contributed 26.0 points per game in his two appearances over this stretch with a 30-point explosion, albeit in a loss, against the Warriors. He continues to display his prowess as bucket-getter.

Taurean Prince is beginning to establish himself as a primary option off the bench and has been feeling it as a shooter of late. Look no further than Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s decision to play the Baylor product 22.0 minutes a game over this stretch.

And Prince’s 25-point eruption off the bench at Charlotte was perhaps the biggest reason the Cavs pulled out their lone victory this past week.

Next. Cleveland Cavaliers: Top 30 all-time greatest players. dark

As a final note, I have been very tough on Kevin Love this season but I must admit that his mere presence on the court improves the Cavs spacing and playmaking and it doesn’t hurt that he is beginning to resemble Finals era Kevin Love again.