The Cavaliers played their most complete game of the season winning 109-95 against the Blazers to close out their West Coast trip.
The Cavaliers can still beat bad teams: Sorry Portland fans, I don’t think many teams will hold their head high by beating down this Blazers team.
The Blazers hung around through the half due to the Cavaliers' turnovers committed in the first half. However, in the end, talent usually will win out and did as Cleveland put their foot on the gas in the second half outscoring Portland on a 24-11 Cavalanche to end the third quarter running through the beginning of the fourth.
As long as Cleveland can continue to take care of business against teams meandering near the bottom of their respective conferences, this team should still be in the upper half of the East.
Evan Mobley’s Believers: Mobley’s offensive stagnation has been a talking point for the early parts of the season. However, without Darius Garland Wednesday night, Mobley took advantage of the touches and had his fingerprints all over the game.
Mobley finished with a game-high +26 plus-minus, scoring 21 points on 8-11 shooting while pulling down 12 rebounds and blocking three shots. This is by no means, a definitive Mobley game by his standards, but his decisiveness and confidence against Portland could be the kickstart this team needs to take the next step.
Caris LeVert’s Midrange: Don’t look now. but Caris LeVert is currently on a heater from the midrange. A shot that many turn down in today’s NBA of threes and layups, LeVert is currently scoring a career-high 49% from the charity stripe range.
Last season, LeVert struggled mightily from the midrange scoring on 33% of his attempts. LeVert has always favored getting a healthy amount of his attempts from the midrange, but with the clip he is converting on these attempts, it really opens up options for the Cavaliers offensively and adds to LeVert’s growing case to be in contention for sixth man of the year.
Max Strus is starting a collection of bodies: Guys, if Strus’s shot isn’t falling what is he? Why don’t you ask Duop Reath?
The Cavaliers’ ability to survive without Donovan Mitchell: Despite a great performance from Mobley, and good performances from Max Strus and Caris LeVert, the Cavaliers still feel like a team that is trying to survive the Donovan Mitchell-less minutes.
The reason for concern is that, unlike other teams where they struggle without their focal point, the Cavaliers aren’t built the same as a LeBron, Jokic or Doncic-led team. The Cavaliers are built to be a deep team that can attack you from many different playstyles.
Unfortunately, the Cavaliers' good stretches and bad can be easily predicted based on whether Mitchell is on the floor or isn’t right now. Through this point in the season, the Cavaliers are outscoring opponents by 4.3 points per 100 possessions with Mitchell on the floor. Without Mitchell? A measly -21.2 points per 100 possessions without.
The Cavaliers’ as currently constructed aren’t built around Donovan Mitchell, but they might as well be because without him closing possessions, they are struggling to find answers.