When looking back at this past week’s games for them, the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the week 1-2 unfortunately after receiving their sole win against the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum-less Portland Blazers and suffering two losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors.
The team has now found themselves in two highly-watched games the past two seasons, in particular, with their game against the Brooklyn Nets’ Big Three debut last season and now the return of Klay Thompson after missing over 2 years from injury.
The team as a whole did not perform great this past week, not with the past win over the Sacramento Kings in that sense, but one player who put up some solid performances is Darius Garland. He averaged 20.7 points and 7.7 assists on the week, in which he did have two strong outings in his return from being in health and safety protocols.
As has been the case often this season, Garland was the Cavs Player of the Week this past go-round.
Darius has emerged as an elite point guard in the Eastern Conference this season and has been greatly underrated as a playmaker. He’s currently averaging 19.6 points and 7.7 assists on the season.
He has remained the most consistent player on the team this season with many players missing time from injury and illness/COVID-19-related issues. His ability to score and facilitate keeps the offense flowing.
The team also introduced formal rival and now long-time veteran Rajon Rondo to back up Garland, who had a 15-point, 5-assist performance against the Warriors and 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in his debut at Portland. Both were season-highs in points, actually.
Losing Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio, the team was shorthanded at the guard position until now. Ideally, Rondo can give valuable facilitation off the bench and help mentor Garland, who’s in his third season, and others. Rondo has had two games for the team, who need him badly at the moment.
Two other performances that stuck out were Jarrett Allen, who had a 22 point, 12-rebound performance, and Lamar Stevens with a career-best 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals on Sunday. Stevens has showed progression and glimpses of ability to fit on this team last season and stepped up on an off night as a whole for the team, in which Garland himself greatly struggled, in fairness.
Stevens was moved into the starting lineup to cover for Isaac Okoro who has missed time from an elbow sprain.
Overall, as we noted, during those three games last week, the team struggled to a large degree, and even the named Player of the Week struggled against the Warriors with a lackluster performance.
Garland did do some good things down the stretch in Sacramento on Monday, on the plus side, but his back reportedly being sore is something that we’ll have to monitor. Hopefully that doesn’t linger for an extended period.