Cavaliers News: Halloween Exorcism, Crowning Mobley

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t had the smoothest start to the season. Six combined absences from their stars in three games have led to a 1-2 start, not where they hoped to be as the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks show off their lethal new stars.

Yet the season is still young, the Cavs will get healthy and there is plenty to talk about. It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for Cavaliers News! Let’s dive in.

Cavaliers hoping for revenge

This entire season for Cleveland is about proving that they are a better team than they were last season, when the New York Knicks punked them right out of the playoffs. That kind of loss sticks with a team, and memories of missed shots and Knickerbockers grabbing offensive rebounds likely haunt the Cavaliers.

Expunging those playoff demons won’t come in full until the playoffs in April and May, but they can start the exorcism tonight by beating the Knicks in their first matchup since that playoff series. It’s fitting that they’ll get to do so on Halloween. Can they conquer the ghosts of the past and get back to .500?

James Harden traded

The LA Clippers sure love their midnight trades! Overnight the James Harden standoff finally came to an end, as the Philadelphia 76ers finally agreed to deal their disgruntled guard (ESPN first). Whether it was the Clippers sweetening the pot or the Sixers taking a step toward LA in order to avoid the awkwardness of a Harden game in a Sixers uniform, the deal is done.

The terms as we know them right now:

The four players coming to the 76ers are all on expiring contracts, giving the Sixers the flexibility they desire heading into next summer to land a third star to go with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. The deal likely signals that Philly is confident going to war this season with Maxey as their primary perimeter star, while the Clippers feel like they are close enough to contend by adding Harden.

Tournament Court

One of the bold new ideas for the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament is to have custom courts. They all fall a similar pattern, with a court 100 percent painted one color, with a second color strip down the middle connecting the baskets and highlighting images of the In-Season Tournament trophy.

Here is the Cavs’ court:

Crowning Mobley

Evan Mobley is having his moment heading into the season, with multiple outlets ready to name him as the league’s best defensive player. With his third-place finish last season, his room to continue growing and his ability to play both a lot of games and a lot of minutes, he has been a popular preseason pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Bleacher Report became the latest to crown him. We did the same with our preseason award picks.

The crown looks good on Mobley, as he has been dominant to start the season. That included a historic game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night as he carried the load without any of his three star teammates, keeping the Cavaliers in the game despite the absences.

Georges is a good player

Georges Niang has had a shaky start to the season shooting the ball, hitting just one of his 12 3-pointers and shooting 4-for-19 overall from the field. He has nearly as many fouls (8) as points (9) and is a cumulative -25 on the season. It’s not been what the team or Niang hoped for when he signed a three-year contract this summer.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was asked about Niang and expressed confidence in the forward:

Hospital Ward

It’s difficult to make many conclusions about the Cavaliers thus far because of the many injuries they have sustained. Jarrett Allen is yet to play a single minute, Darius Garland has only played one game, and Donovan Mitchell missed Saturday’s loss and is questionable for tonight’s game against the New York Knicks.

On top of the missing stars, the Cavs’ backcourt has been further gutted, with Ty Jerome only able to play 15 total minutes this season. He missed the Pacers loss and was ruled out early for the Knicks game. When you add in Ricky Rubio’s continued absence, the Cavs are playing without their top three point guards. They need to get healthy soon.

What to Read

  • Is it possible that a bad knee in Tennessee and a bruised ankle in Ohio could lead to a blockbuster three-team trade? We broke down an interesting trade proposal in our latest “grade the trade” piece.
  • Speaking of trades, Bleacher Report suggested two Cavs players who could be traded this season. We took a look at each and evaluated the possibility.
  • Our guy Caleb Crowley will have a weekly Cavaliers Roundup each Monday of the season. He’ll touch on his thoughts on the team and then award “Crowley’s Crowns” to that week’s top performers. Check out the Week One edition here.
  • We will offer our own Power Rankings of the entire league every couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t ready elsewhere! John Schuhmann of brings some excellent statistical nuggets to his look at the entire league in his weekly Power Rankings column.

What’s Next?

The Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks will tussle on two consecutive nights. They play tonight, on Halloween, at 7:30 PM ET. That game will be aired on TNT. Then both teams will hop on planes and fly to New York to face off against tomorrow in Madison Square Garden; that competition will also tip at 7:30, although this time on local networks and NBA League Pass.

Next. Ranking every No. 1 overall draft pick to play for the Cavaliers. dark

Friday brings the first “Game Night” for the In-Season Tournament, and the Cavaliers will be in Indiana looking to avenge last weekend’s loss and notch an important victory in group play.