5 Cavaliers who dazzled vs the Magic (and one Squib)

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Damian Jones, Cleveland Cavaliers and Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

The Squib: Damian Jones

There were a number of Cavaliers who didn’t have their best nights. Donovan Mitchell shot just 3-for-14 from the field, missing six 3-pointers and a number of shots in the paint that he normally hits. He was only 1-for-3 from the free-throw line! Ty Jerome was a defensive liability even while he racked up six assists. Isaac Okoro went 1-for-5, and Evan Mobley was consistently outrebounded by the size of Orlando’s front line.

Each of those players also showed some helpful things, however. That can’t exactly be said for Damian Jones, who was thrust into the starting lineup to replace Jarrett Allen. In just under 11 entirely forgettable minutes Jones did just about nothing to impact the game. That’s not exactly hyperbolic, either; Jones had 0 points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocks. He shot 0-for-1 from the field and his only presence on the box score was a turnover and a foul.

That wasn’t because he was elevating the players around him and fading into the background, either, as Jones was a game-worst -17 on the night. He did fine defensively 1-on-1 with Wendell Carter Jr. for most of his minutes, but his help defense was entirely ineffective. Carter did get the advantage late in the first half, though, dunking right in Jones’ face.

On offense, Jones was mostly ignored, although Mobley did hit him for a nice pass when Jones was in the dunker’s spot. He proceeded to lose the basketball, which thankfully bounced off of a Magic player on its way out of bounds. He didn’t create any advantages and wasn’t able to do much of anything, including grab a single rebound.

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If Jarrett Allen is not ready to start the season, or misses time during the year, Jones was going to be first in line to replace him. If he continues to turn in ineffectual performances, however, he could easily lose that spot in the rotation to Tristan Thompson.