With Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen (plus Ty Jerome) out with injury, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost 125-113 to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at home.
Caris LeVert stepped as a scorer with Cleveland’s lead guards out, finishing with 31 points, including 22 in the first quarter. He could have easily had more too, but he was 3-9 from the line.
Evan Mobley led the Cavs with 33 points on 12-22 shooting and an 8-10 mark at the line. There were still some moments were Mobley was denied, but he largely played forceful, attacking offensive basketball.
Max Strus added 21 for the Cavs.
Mobley goes to work
For the Cavs to get where they want to go, they need more of this kind of Mobley — even with Garland and Mitchell are back.
Mobley’s shot chart tells you where he’s at right now. He did most of his damage at the rim, often rolling to the rim or attacking off of a post-up. He went at Myles Turner, and while he was pushed back at times, he had a fair amount of success and got Turner into foul trouble.
Notice the corner three in there too! And there’s at some attempted mid-range shots, even if they didn’t land.
He probably won’t take 22 shots when the two All-Star guards aren’t back, at least not regularly. And when Allen is back, there will be some balance to figure out too and perhaps different angles for Mobley to attack from. But riding him on certain nights and trying to force growth in his game is something the Cavs need more of. This kind of night should be more standard for Mobley.
Well, that happened: Isaac Okoro had a mask on... for a moment
Isaac Okoro, after being hit in the face Friday, work a mask to start Saturday’s game. That is until it clearly annoyed him and he tossed it over to the bench. For that to happen, it assumedly had to be so uncomfortable.
Also would love to hear from Cavs head trainer Steve Spiro on what his reaction was to Okoro tossing the mask.
Well, that happened, part two: Is it 2015 or so again?
We’ve all seen Tristan Thompson make this play 500 times. Vintage.
The Big Picture
The Cavs went 0-2 in their first two homes games. They are already dealing with some injuries, some that are now and some that are nagging. And up next is a two-game set, a second back-to-back in five days, against the New York Knicks.
To start the year, the Cavs are just facing some adversity. Adversity is inevitable during an NBA season. But it has to be frustrating for a team to hit bumps right out of the gate.