Despite beating the Atlanta Hawks 128-105 last night, and finishing with a 3-1 record in the In-Season Tournament, the Cleveland Cavaliers were still eliminated from advancing to the knockout rounds.
Despite that fact, it was still a very encouraging showing for the Wine and Gold, as they responded in a great way after a slow first quarter. With the state of Ohio dealing with some early snowfall, Donovan Mitchell turned up the heat with 40 points, breaking out of his hibernation.
Evan Mobley also had a huge game, as he had 17 points, 19 rebounds, and seven blocks. He was unstoppable on both ends of the floor, and the Hawks had zero answer for him in the paint. Darius Garland chipped in with 19 points of his own, to go along with eight assists, and the Cavs had four other players go in double figures in Max Strus, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Georges Niang.
The Cavs also held Hawks star Trae Young to just 13 points on three-of-14 shooting. It was an all around great game for the Cavs, as they put together a complete performance on both ends of the floor. Here are two studs and one dud from a dominant home victory for the Wine and Gold.
Stud: Donovan Mitchell
I mean what else is new here right? Spida being a stud in a win? As good a combo as hamburger and fries.
After missing four consecutive games due to a right hamstring strain, Mitchell struggled in his first two games back. He went a combined eight-for-35, and two-for-11 from three-point range. He also averaged 16.5 points per game in that two-game stretch. This is not the Mitchell we have been used to seeing all season.
Fortunately, Mitchell got over his post-thanksgiving hangover and erupted for 40 huge points against the Hawks. He went 14-of-25 from the field and was a thorn in the Hawks’ side all night. He was easily getting to his spots and attacking from tip-off to the end of the game.
It was great to see that Mitchell kept his confidence up. He also added five assists, and 11 rebounds to his statline. The Cavs do not achieve any of their goals this season without Mitchell. He is the scoring engine of this team, and he can erupt for 40 on any given night. There are not a lot of star players in the league that can do that.
Hopefully, Mitchell continues to get back to his pre-injury form, and with Darius Garland also in a rhythm offensively, the Wine and Gold’s offense will stay plenty hot during a cold Northeast Ohio winter.