1 stud, 1 dud from Cavs’ season opening loss to Raptors

Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images /

When the Cavaliers acquired Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in a blockbuster trade in the beginning of September, most around the NBA were excited to see what he could bring to an already talented, young roster. Somehow, Koby Altman and Mike Gansey had acquired Mitchell without giving up Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. Cleveland had added another All-Star to the mix, and the excitement around the start of the season was mounting, as every basketball fan wanted to see how the four young stars would play with each other.

Fast forward to last night when the Cavs took on another Eastern Conference contender in the Toronto Raptors in the season opener for both teams. Cleveland battled all night, and Donovan Mitchell looked comfortable in his first game with the Cavaliers. However, the Raptors hung on in the end, claiming a 108-105 win. The real story of the game became not the score, but the injury to star point guard Darius Garland.

The new-look Cleveland Cavaliers debuted in the season opener on Wednesday night, a close loss to the Toronto Raptors marred by Darius Garland’s injury

With nine minutes to go in the first half, Gary Trent Jr. tried to steal an inbound pass to Darius Garland but ended up poking him in the eye. We can talk about that no-call at another time, but after the injury, Garland was taken to the locker room and didn’t return to the game. His status is up in the air for the Cavs’ next game versus the Chicago Bulls.

Overall, it was a good effort by the Cavs without their point guard. Making matters even worse, Ricky Rubio won’t return from injury for at least another two months. However, Mitchell was great, finishing with 31 points to lead the Cavaliers. The twin towers of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen were a bit disappointing but, it’s only game number one. Before we head full throttle into tomorrow night’s game, let’s see who played well for the Cavaliers, and who needs to improve if the Cavaliers really want to be taken seriously.