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Cleveland Cavaliers hold off the Detroit Pistons 128-121

It was hard-fought, but the Cavs were able to win in Darius Garland’s return to the lineup.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t easy, but the Cleveland Cavaliers got the job done against a feisty Detroit Pistons team. The newly healthy Cavs fended off the Pistons 128-121 to pick up their 29th win of the season.

Darius Garland is back and healthy

The Cavs survived without Darius Garland, and even excelled at times. Makes you forget the kind of playmaker he is and how that improves the Cavs offense:

Garland looked rusty out there, despite the 19 points and three assists. He was a team worst -16 and is still a liability on defense, something the Cavs didn’t have to worry about with Isaac Okoro starting in his place. Garland actually wasn’t in the closing lineup, replaced with Okoro in crunch time. For what it’s worth, Evan Mobley was also not in the closing lineup, replaced by Caris LeVert. While it’s likely to limit their minutes post injury, it’s a little interesting. The Cavs found success without them for over a month, and went back to that formula tonight when it mattered. Garland finished with 19 points in 20 minutes of action.
Isaac Okoro may be keeping his minutes

Fear it, run from it, but Okoro is too good to not play especially in crunch time. His defense is solid (had four steals tonight) and does enough on offense that opposing teams can’t ignore him completely.

Donovan Mitchell, superstar

The Cavs needed nearly all 45 of Donovan Mitchell’s points to lead the victory, but boy was it fun to watch. It may be a little concerning to need that much from Mitchell against a bad Pistons team, but thats what superstars are for.

Detroit’s three-point shooting

The Pistons are one of, if not the worst three-point shooting team in the entire league. But you wouldn’t have known that based on tonight’s game. The Pistons shot a blistering 52% from deep, keeping them in the game and allowing them to take a fourth quarter lead. The Cavs are known to leave shooters open, but the Pistons made them pay tonight — and it nearly cost them a win

The Cavs will play a second game of a back-to-back in Memphis against the heavily injured Grizzlies. Tip-off is at 8 p.m EST at FedEx Forum.