The Cleveland Cavaliers’ five-game losing streak is over, and Evan Mobley‘s return has much to do with that. The Cavs are coming off back-to-back comfortable wins over the Magic (105-92) and the Mavericks (114-96). The losing streak skid was broken as Cleveland led nearly the entire Magic game and led against the Mavs by as many as 31. The Wine and Gold could be rolling again.
With a combination of a difficult schedule and numerous injuries, the Cavs were reeling sitting at 9-10. The sudden explosion from Cleveland is mostly due to finally getting healthy. Plus, the Magic and Mavs were much easier opponents compared to teams like the Nets, Warriors and Suns. The return of one player, in particular, is leading to success once again.
Evan Mobley’s value cannot be overstated
The return of Mobley off of his elbow sprain has been huge. The rookie — who is the early Rookie of the Year favorite — has impacted the Cavaliers in every way possible this season. Mobley essentially missed every game during the Cavs’ losing streak. He missed most of the fourth quarter vs. the Celtics (when the losing streak began). Then, Cleveland dropped every game in Mobley’s absence.
What happens as soon as Mobley returns? The Cavaliers win back-to-back games in a convincing fashion. Other players have certainly stepped up over the last two games. For example, Lauri Markkanen is scorching hot coming off two 20 points games while shooting over 50%. Mobley has not done anything astronomical on the offensive end in his first two games off injury. He totaled 13 and 12 points on solid shooting splits. But where his impact has immediately led to winning is on the defensive end.
Mobley’s defensive contributions
Without a doubt, Mobley brings immense talent and potential on the defensive end. The versatility and switchability he has gives the Cavs the luxury of switching nearly anything. Mobley adds a shot-blocking presence with his innate ability to challenge shots at the rim while remaining vertical. Mobley’s offense has surprised this season as he averages over 14 points while shooting 49%. However, what has made him truly special has been on the defensive end.
Without Mobley, the Cavs were not playing at the same level defensively. In Mobley’s return, the Wine and Gold have held their last two opponents to 39.8% and 43.8%. Cleveland’s defensive stats with Mobley vs. without Mobley are undeniable.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) November 28, 2021
As mentioned, other Cavaliers also deserve credit for their recent level of play. The offense is humming right now with efficient shooting and ball movement. Mobley’s addition on defense has led to these games being blowouts. Also, Mobley’s return has allowed the Cavs to return to their intriguing big lineup. The combination of Mobley, Markkanen and Jarrett Allen has worked extremely well all season. Having that lineup and Mobley’s solid offensive game with his elite defense have put new life into Cleveland.
The Cavs will need to continue their impressive play with the schedule becoming difficult once again. Cleveland faces off with the Heat Wednesday evening, followed by a clash with the Wizards on Friday.
Featured image courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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