The Cavaliers felt like they had Thursday’s game against the West-leading Nuggets won … until they didn’t.
“We’ve just got to put ourselves in positions to succeed and I think we got away from what was working for us and that’s on all of us,” guard Donovan Mitchell said, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We had it and we lost it. This is one stings because we all felt like we should have won this game.”
The Cavs (38-24) are the least-experienced team when it comes to the top four spots in the Eastern Conference — and now is when opponents will start to ramp it up in preparation for the playoffs. Cleveland will have to try to do the same, Mitchell added.
“This is the playoffs, that’s what that is,” he said. “They know our plays, they know what’s coming. We know their plays, we know what’s coming. It’s just who executes better and who finds a way. They found a way tonight and we didn’t. That’s just all about the learning process as we get better.”
Forward Evan Mobley led the way with 31 points, but managed just two shots in the fourth quarter. Not locating the hot hand late is something the Cavs will have to rectify.
“The ball’s got to find him and we have to do the right thing,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Thought there were opportunities for the ball to find him and it didn’t.”
- Point guard Ricky Rubio sat out to rest his knee, but is expected to play in Friday’s road game vs. the Hawks. When it comes to Rubio and the rest of the regular season, the Cavs will “err on the side of caution,” Bickerstaff said. “Safety first.”
- Shooting guard Danny Green did not play in his first home game since signing with the Cavs last week.
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