R-E-L-A-X. The Cavaliers can stay afloat without Garland and Mobley

Charlotte Hornets v Cleveland Cavaliers
Charlotte Hornets v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

In a season where the Cleveland Cavaliers have been battling inconsistency, the team had been keeping the faith that they would turn things around. This is because of their core four: Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.

Now, the Wine and Gold will have to try and turn their season around without half of that core. The Cavaliers announced yesterday that Garland and Mobley would miss extended time due to injury. Garland is out for four weeks due to a fractured jaw, and Mobley is out for six to eight weeks due to knee surgery. It was just a brutal blow to a Cavs team that had lofty goals and expectations this season.

They have been falling short through the quarter mark of the season, and sit at 13-12, which is good for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs have also struggled without Garland, and Mobley this season, as they are 2-3 without Garland, and 1-3 without Mobley. If the Cavs want to stay afloat while their stars recover, they have to change that trend.

Fortunately, they will have the chance to do so because of a couple of factors. 

One thing that is in favor of the Cavs is that their schedule is very manageable for the rest of the season. According to Tankathon, the Cavs have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the league with 57 games left. It is a stark contrast to the beginning portion of their schedule, as the Cavs have played the fifth hardest schedule up to this point in the season.

In addition to that, over the Cavs’ next 20 games, 12 of them are at home. The Cavs are only 6-6 at home on the year, but they have won three of their last four home games, and since the start of last season, the Cavs have the sixth best home record in the NBA. To add on, over their next 20 games, these are the teams the Cavs play:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards (twice)
  • Chicago Bulls (twice)
  • Toronto Raptors
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Detroit Pistons

To be fair, that stretch doesn’t cover both Garland and Mobley’s absences, but it likely gets them through at least Garland’s. All of these teams are below .500 on the season, and the Cavs have a 7-1 record against teams that are below .500, their only loss coming against the Portland Trail Blazers. If the Cavs can win seven or eight of those games, they will be in great shape and can be in the playoff mix in the East.

Another factor in the Cavs’ favor is that they still have Donovan Mitchell healthy and ready to go. Mitchell is used to carrying bigger burdens, as he did it in Utah for years, and he likes a challenge, according to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com. The Cavs will need Mitchell to continue to play at an elite level if they want to withstand these absences. However, he will not have to do it alone. He will have guys like Max Strus, Caris LeVert, and Jarrett Allen to help with the load. If those four can stay healthy until at least Garland comes back, the season is not lost.

Losing two stars that are critical to the team’s success is a tough pill to swallow for the WIne and Gold. However, it could have been worse. They could have lost Garland, and Mobley for the season. The injuries could have had a much worse impact. They will be without both of them for two months, but Garland will probably be back within a month. The Cavs have the schedule, and rest of the roster to withstand this. Coach JB Bickerstaff talked about how the depth of this team makes them dangerous. Now, it's time to put that to the test.