In a much-needed morale boost, the Cleveland Cavaliers pelted the Atlanta Hawks wire-to-wire in a 127-119 victory. Here’s the recap:
It was an all-around team effort but Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell truly stole the show.
Allen began the game with 17 points on 8-8 shooting, the highest-scoring quarter of his career. His dominance on both ends set the tone early. And in the end, it was Allen’s pursuit of the ball that resulted in a game-high 14 rebounds.
As for Mitchell, he bore the responsibility of being the lead playmaker as Cleveland’s starting point guard. He responded with a career-high 13 assists to go with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. The Cavs need Mitchell to be spectacular with Darius Garland on the sideline — and tonight, he did just that.
Other Cavs deserve mention such as Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade, Tristan Thompson and Sam Merrill. Each contributed on offense and defense tonight. Okoro, in particular, scored 18 points on 6-9 shooting.
Well, that happened...
NBA champion Tristan Thompson continues to be a big surprise this season. He’s been a legit presence on the glass, hauling in 5 rebounds in just 13 minutes tonight.
TT forced Atlanta into some loose-ball fouls during the first half. And in the fourth quarter, Thompson converted on two putbacks to keep Cleveland in front. For a mostly overlooked signing — Thompson has been mighty helpful.
Life isn’t getting any easier for the Cavs now that Garland and Evan Mobley are going to miss extended time. But tonight was a reminder of how stacked the roster is. Mitchell and Allen are both star-caliber players, after all.
This season has been a trial by fire for Cleveland. Mitchell and Allen will have to continue playing at a high level while the rest of the roster needs to step up on a nightly basis. For now, they are off to a good start.
Up next, the Cavs play Houston on Monday and the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. They round out their stretch at home with a Thursday night game versus the Pelicans.