For the first time this season, the Cavaliers are (almost) fully healthy. At least their starters, that is. On November 3, the first in-season tournament game, Darius Garland returned for the first time since October 25 and Jarrett Allen started for the first time this season. Here’s a look at how they’re playing since their return.
November 3, 2023: vs. Indiana Pacers
Allen started his first game of the season against the Indiana Pacers and played a total of 21 minutes. He was able to put up 10 points and grab seven rebounds with two blocks and a steal. While not the monster return Cavs fans were hoping for, it was a solid season debut.
Garland got more time to shine this game, playing 32 total minutes. He scored 14 points with six assists, two steals and a block. He did have four turnovers, and finished with a plus/minus of minus 10. Similar to the start of the season, he didn’t quite look like his usual self this game. He seemed to lack a bit of the confidence and the explosiveness that Cleveland fans have come to expect from him.
The Indiana Pacers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-121.
November 5, 2023: vs. Golden State Warriors
During his second game back for Cleveland, Allen put up an improved line of 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists across an extended 28 minutes. Although he finished without any steals or blocks, he was still a defensive presence and finished with a plus/minus of plus nine.
Garland, on the other hand, seemed to really return this game. Finishing with 24 points, seven assists and three rebounds (playing two less minutes than last game) Garland bumped his plus/minus up to plus 15 for this game. This means when he was on the floor in the second game his team scored 25 more points than when he was on the floor in the first game. Although he also bumped his turnovers up to six this outing, he looked overall much better this time around.
The Cavaliers defeated the Warriors this game 104-115.
November 8, 2023: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Allen finished this game with 14 points, six rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block. He is continuing to increase his point production, but his plus/minus regressed down to minus four this game.
Garland also had a less impressive game, finishing with 15 points, nine assists and three rebounds. He also had a staggering eight turnovers. This is starting to look like a trend for him, and will need to be improved if this Cavs team wants to succeed in this Eastern Conference.
Overall not the best outing for the Cavaliers. With turnovers being one of the bigger issues for Cleveland this game, and Garland accounting for more than half, it needs to be addressed. If this ship can be righted the difference will be drastic.
The Thunder defeated the Cavaliers 120-128.
Although Garland looked more at one hundred percent than Allen did these past two games, it’s also important to keep in mind that Ty Jerome is still out with injury. Although he’s not a major part of Cleveland’s offense, he is one of the only point guards on the team other than Garland that isn’t also a rookie. This means Garland has had to fill a bigger role than Allen has (hence the differences in playing time). Allen also has Mobley to lean on in the paint both offensively and defensively, and his presence in the paint alone makes Cleveland’s defense more threatening. Both should continue to improve in their play as the season goes on, and hope to fit better into this new Cleveland offense.
The Cavaliers play Golden State this Saturday (November 11) at 8:30 PM in San Francisco.
Featured photo courtesy of NBA.com
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