How Cleveland Cavaliers star has turned this season around in recent stretch

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Darius Garland has been dealing with multiple nagging injuries this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, gradually building himself back up after losing roughly 12 pounds with a wired jaw from his fracture earlier this season.

Garland's splits are down from the last two seasons across the board. On the campaign, he's had 18.8 points and 6.3 assists per contest, and on some occasions, it's been as if one has been watching a different dude out there.

Garland is one of Cleveland’s undisputed top players, and he’s a catalyst for this group's chance at success. With the Cavaliers battling injuries, they needed Garland to show up in the latter half of the season. He’s not going to have the two-way impact Donovan Mitchell will, but for this team to be at its best and to make a deep run, Garland has to be on his game.

Fortunately, he looks to have turned a corner as the playoffs near and Cleveland is ramping up for a true test of strength.

In Garland's last 16 games, he's averaged 19.7 points and 7.1 assists, and he's largely been on a heater from three-point range. In Cleveland's 116-95 win on Wednesday over the New Orleans Pelicans to start their current road trip, Garland had 27 points, tied a season-high with 11 assists and made six triples.

Post-All-Star break, he has turned it up a notch from beyond the arc, too. As Stat Mamba pointed out in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, Garland has canned the most triples in the league since that point, on a 46.5 percent clip.

Garland and the Cavaliers had a dud in their 14-point loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday, and in that one, he went just five-of-13 from the field and one-of-six from three. Despite that, he's been much more on-point lately, and that's big ahead of the playoffs.

Garland is finding his rhythm at the right time for the Cavaliers.

As aforementioned, Garland has had his ups and downs this season. He's had injury issues, problems with turnovers and has just looked out of sorts in general, on a number of occasions. There have assuredly been stretches of games where he hasn't looked like himself.

This recent play should be recognized, though. As he's gotten reacclimated, he's looked much more like himself, which has been a welcomed development, especially as the calendar creeps into April and the playoffs begin.

Garland has been shooting in-rhythm, has been more decisive as a playmaker, and as was alluded to above from Stat Mamba, he's led the Association in threes made post-All-Star break on a scorching hot clip, which has still been 45.0 percent. That's held true since Thursday, and in recent weeks, he's appeared more and more confident.

Saturday's game may have put a slight blemish on the play from Garland, and Donovan Mitchell reportedly still not feeling 100 percent right isn't ideal, but Garland's post-All-Star play has been additional reason for optimism. It's been an uneven year for DG, however, if he keep things rolling for the most part from here, the Cavaliers will greatly benefit.

Regardless of the Mitchell injury situation, the Cavs need Garland to be in-rhythm leading into the postseason. He means so much to the Wine and Gold. Even with inconsistencies for the Cavs post-All-Star break and injuries to key contributors, Garland's playmaking and shooting have been encouraging for the outlook of a healthy squad.

If Garland can keep building on this post-All-Star play, that'd be big for Cleveland as they hope to make noise in the playoffs this go-around, and put last season's postseason disappointment behind them. In the mean time, DG has to keep up this more assertive style.

If Darius Garland can keep building on his recent stretch, the Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff hopes will have a much better chance to be realized. Garland gives the Cavs a chance to put their last postseason disappointments behind them with his more assertive and confident style.

Next. 5 doubts Cavaliers have proved wrong this season. 5 doubts Cavaliers have proved wrong this season. dark