- Eric Martinez
Cavs continue winning streak heading into the holiday season
Coming into Wednesday nights’ game, the Cleveland Cavaliers carried a 3-game win streak after dropping a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 16th. Their challenge tonight was to contain Jerami Grant, Anthony Simons and the rest of the TrailBlazers. This Cavaliers roster is built on pure mismatches for opponents. In their previous 17 games, it is apparent that coaches have a difficult time deciding on how they will guard the Cavs. Tonight, the Cavaliers had contributions by several players in the starting lineup and off the bench. Since joining the Cavs, Donovan Mitchell has averaged 29.8 points per game and 6 assists per game, which are top 10 in the NBA in both categories. Mitchell’s main goal tonight was to attack and score often. Shooting an efficient 6 of 10 from three-point range, Donovan Mitchell ended the game scoring 34 points. Cavs point guard Darius Garland controlled the pace of the game and knew who had the hot hand by contributing with 12 assists and 24 points on 9 of 19 shots made. Double-digit scorers both secured double-digit rebounds for the Cavs forwards with Jarrett Allen scoring 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Evan Mobley locks in a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Cleveland scored 114 points by product of the game plan that head coach J.B. Bickerstaff set prior to the game. “Defenses have a tough decision to make on how they’ll guard us. A lot of times, they’ll err on the side of defending Donovan, but he’s a willing passer and that’s where Jarrett does a great job of finding those gaps,” Coach Bickerstaff stated on what was the key for the scoring surge tonight. Multiple times the Cavs went on an unreachable run that included a 21-3 run late in the game that turned out to be the key to breaking away from the Blazers. The Cavaliers are now 8-1 in Cleveland and now trail the Milwaukee Bucks by 0.5 games in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. They climb to 3rd place in the Eastern Conference holding a 12-6 record. Blazers were held to under 100 points and turned the ball over 17 times. Although they were perfect from the free throw line, going 13-13, their leader and floor general was absent tonight, and it was noticeable. When Damian Lillard is healthy and on the court, Portland has the formula to contend in the Western Conference. Blazers had 4 players in double figures with Anthony Simons (20 points), Jerami Grant (21 points), Jusuf Nurkic (22 points), and Drew Eubanks (10 points). Up next for the Cavaliers is another trip to Milwaukee in what is sure to be a shoot-out against the Bucks. Blazers travel to New York to play in Madison Square Garden on Friday night. The entire NBA will be off for the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.