The Cleveland Cavaliers, resting six key players, beat the Orlando Magic 118-94 on Thursday night led by a collection of backups. The win, the last road game for the Cavs this year, puts them at 20-21 on the road for the 2022-23 season.
The Danny Green game
Danny Green has barely played since joining the Cavs on the buyout market. Coming into Thursday, he’d played a total of 45 minutes in 6 games.
Green played 26 minutes on Thursday, finishing 21 points on 8-14 shooting, including 5-9 from three. He moved well, sliding around off ball, getting into passing lanes and looking like someone able to contribute real minutes.
He also had a vintage Danny Green transition block. He looked good. Does that mean he gets playoff minutes? Unclear. But it looks like if J.B. Bickerstaff wants to go in that direction, it would make sense.
Isaiah Mobley, getting some run
Isaiah Mobley, Evan Mobley’s older brother, has spent his rookie season out of the spotlight. On a two-way deal, Isaiah Mobley played most of this year with the Cleveland Charge in the G League. He’d only played 33 minutes in the NBA heading into Thursday.
Mobley ended up playing 28 minutes off the bench against the Magic and played a lot like he did with the Charge. He moves well on both ends, particularly on offense where he can and will dribble to search out guards for dribble hand—offs or a pick-and-roll. The way he plays is additive.
Final stat line for Mobley: 18 points on 7-12 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocked shots. This was a look at someone who could be in the running for Cleveland’s backup center job next year.
Hustle and flow
Maybe this was by design. Maybe this was because it was a collection of players who have barely played together and they were just figuring it out as they want. But, aside from the quality, the biggest difference between the Cavs’ main roster and this roster was the pace. It felt like they got into their sets just a little bit quicker than the Cavs’ main roster.
You’ll take the version of the Cavs with Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland and Evan Mobley and everyone else who sat 10/10 times vs. this group. But the pace uptick was good.
Up next: The Cavs host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the regular season finale.