They couldn’t pull out the win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the Cavs still have a lot to talk about. Here’s a recap of the Cavs 2023 home opener.
With Darius Garland sitting due to injury, and Jarrett Allen still out, the lineup looks a bit unusual for the second game in a row. Cleveland’s starting lineup consisted of Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Evan Mobley.
The Cavs took a while to get going in this one, with the Thunder starting on a 7-0 run. Although they eventually dropped to a double-digit deficit, Donovan Mitchell sparked some life back into his team with a drive straight to the chest of Chet Holmgren and an ensuing bucket. The Cavs also continued their fast-paced passing, although not quite to the extent of the last game. Unfortunately, their missed shots and poor shot selection piled up quickly. They entered halftime again down double-digits 52-42.
The second half was close, and the Cavaliers managed to claw their way back to a lead. Isaac Okoro, after scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards in the first half, left early into the second after he took a rogue elbow to the head followed by Holmgren’s foot crashing down directly onto his head. Okoro would eventually return but was unable to produce at the same pace, finishing with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Donovan Mitchell exploded this half, scoring 17 and making some incredibly difficult passes look shockingly effortless. Although he had a phenomenal game, it was not enough to will the Cavs to a win. They ended up losing 105-108 with a last-second turnover.
Donovan Mitchell continues to do Donovan Mitchell things, finishing with a stat line of 43 points, eight rebounds, five (beautiful) assists, three steals and two blocks. Although he is an extremely talented scorer, he continues to stuff the entirety of the stat sheet.
Evan Mobley also continued to look more physical, finishing with another double-double in a line of 14 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. A definite improvement over the last game.
Caris Levert is the final standout Cavalier with 17 points, two rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal.
The Cavaliers, especially in the first half, struggled to shoot the ball. Whether it was their shots just not falling or bad shots taken, their shots were not falling. At one point they were 1-13 from deep. Strus himself missed almost as many threes as he did in his record-setting debut earlier this week before he finally sunk one. The Cavs as a whole finished the game with a 26.7 percent field goal percentage.
Getting shots up also seemed to be an issue, with the Thunder racking up 10 blocks this game. Seven of those came from Holmgren alone, who limited (although not contained) Mobley’s post output this outing.
They also struggled more defensively this game, allowing more drive to the basket. This should (hopefully) be an issue that is drastically impacted by Jarrett Allen’s return.
Featured photo courtesy of NBA.com
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