Cavs Dribbles: Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Playoff Picture

Random quick dribbles ahead of the Cavaliers’ road game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. …Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

1. At this writing, it’s unknown if Donovan Mitchell will play. But hey, at least he’s been upgraded to questionable, as relayed here.

2. Max Strus, Dean Wade and of course Evan Mobley remain out. Meanwhile, the Pelicans are at full strength.

3. That means plenty of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, who is tied with fellow Pelican and former Cav Larry Nance Jr. as the NBA’s biggest fans of the Cleveland Browns.

4. Wonder how McCollum and Nance feel about the Browns’ decision not to retain Joe Flacco? Maybe someone will ask them.

5. Anyway, back to the Cavs. They are really battling without three starters and a key reserve (and sometimes starter) in Wade. But there is only so much they can do. 

6. After this, the road doesn’t get any easier — at Houston, at Indiana, home against Miami and then at Minnesota. They will need at least Mitchell and his 28 points per game to survive this stretch. And it wouldn’t hurt to get the other guys.

7. Mitchell has missed the last seven games, and in the last five, Garland has scored 34 points once, 30 in another, and 16, 15 and 14. The Cavs have won two of those games, but they came against the Timberwolves and Boston Celtics, with Garland passing for 11 assists vs. Boston.

8. In other words, the more the ball moves, the better the odds will be for the Cavs. With so many injuries, it’ll take a team effort in the truest sense.

9. On the bright side, the Cavs (41-24) remain three games ahead of New York for third place in the Eastern Conference and four in front of Orlando. You want to avoid dropping behind the Magic, just to keep home court in the first round. Otherwise, I don’t think it matters if the Cavs finish third or fourth.

10. The only benefit would be finishing second in the East, which would allow the Cavs to have home-court advantage in the first TWO rounds (in theory, anyway). But I doubt they pass the Bucks, who have a half-game lead at the moment.

11. Bucks, Magic, Knicks, whoever. The Cavs just have to get healthy and play like they’re capable. If those two things happen, I wouldn’t worry too much about them winning a playoff series. If they play like they did in January, they’ll win at least a couple.

12. So, there you have it. I’ll have much more after the game, as always. Thanks so much for following along and making Hoops Wire my job. I sometimes forget how lucky I am and you’re the reason why.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply