Stud: Evan Mobley
On a cold night in Cleveland, it was the kid from California who tried to bring the heat. Sadly, he was the only stud from this game.
It was nice to see Evan Mobley be one of the only Cavs players to show up to play in a dismal game. Mobley has continued his evolution in his third year. He finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds while shooting nine-of-14 from the field. He was efficient and dominated the paint all night.
He thoroughly outplayed Blazers big man DeAndre Ayton, as Ayton only finished with ten points and six rebounds. Mobley doubled his points and outrebounded him by two, rising to the challenge of defending the onetime No. 1 overall pick.
In his last ten games, Mobley has found his consistency. He is averaging a strong double-double of 17 points per game and 11 rebounds. He has eight double-doubles in that stretch and has not scored below single digits in any game. He has shot below 50% in only one game. He is also averaging about two blocks per game in that stretch. He has become reliable, more physical, and the perfect third option that the Cavs have needed. Let's hope his consistent play can trickle down to the rest of the roster, including a certain playmaker.
Dud: Darius Garland
I love Darius Garland. He is one of the best pure point guards in the NBA. He has a great all-around offensive game and is an elite playmaker. He did not play up to any of this against the Blazers. Garland had eight turnovers on the night and shot six-of-18 from the field. He was two-of-eight from three, and sure he had seven assists, but he was not the steady floor general that the Cavs were missing for the whole game.
Turnovers have been a problem for Garland all season, even in games he has played well. He is averaging well over four turnovers per game, and it gets to a certain point where the simple solution is this: grow up. You are a fifth-year NBA player. You should not be making this many mental mistakes in a game. You strive to play at an All-Star level every single night. At some point, Garland needs to get over this turnover issue. Stop being so reckless with the ball, and make the simple read that will keep the offense moving, or get someone an easy basket.
It boggles my mind how many wrap-around passes in traffic he attempts per game at times. A rookie point guard who is trying to make a name for himself makes those mistakes. Not NBA All-Stars. Garland needs to get his act together if the Cavs want to eliminate this bad taste from their mouths.