Prior to tonight’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was clear that the team has regained their composure after a tough three-game skid. Bickerstaff shared that on Sunday, he had an open dialogue with his team about where they were at and where they needed to be. To Bickerstaff, after that group soul searching, things were heading in the right direction.
“We’re determined and ready to go,” Bickerstaff said. “You know, guys understand what it takes and what’s necessary. But, there’s no feeling sorry for ourselves. We got a bunch of guys that wanna go out and go out and compete tonight.”
Well, it appears Bickerstaff’s message was heard loud and clear by his players in the first half. The Cavs defeated the Magic 81-80, including outscoring Orlando 20-9 at one point in the second quarter. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a Cavalanche - it was more of sluff if we’re being honest. But, with how dreadful Cleveland looked at times offensively as of late, the Cavs will take what they can get at this point.
Unfortunately, despite the win, there is a massive storm cloud hanging over Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. First, rookie phenom Evan Mobley went down in the second quarter with what was ruled a left ankle sprain. After that, Lauri markkanen crumpled to the floor after a hard shove and thankfully was able to return to action early in the fourth. Finally, Lamar Stevens took a hard fall on a foul by Orlando big man Mo Bamba and was grabbing his wrist. Like Markkanen, Stevens was able to continue playing but it was worrisome to see a team already ravaged by injuries get hit by the injury bug one more time.
Thankfully, when Markkanen returned to action, he was huge for the Cavs - he finished the night with 20 points on 6-15 shooting, including a huge dunk off a Darius Garland lob to ice the game. Speaking of Garland, he was huge once again for Cleveland and had 25 points, 12 assists and 3 steals.
Hopefully, everything is okay with Mobley going forward — the Cavs have 4 games in the next 5 nights. But, for now, they’re back on the right track and are still in the thick of things in the playoff race.
Up next: The Cavs are back in action Wednesdsay at home against the Dallas Mavericks. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.