Dribbles: Darius Garland, Cavs Again Come Alive at Right Time to Sink Pelicans

CLEVELAND — Random dribbles from the Cavaliers’ 113-103 home win over the Pelicans on Monday. …Darius Garland Evan Mobley

1. Just when you think these Cavs are down, well, they’re never really out. If there’s one thing they’ve proved over and over this season, that is it.

2. To be more precise, the Cavs have overcome double-digit deficits 11 times this season to win. That leads the NBA. It happened again Monday.

3. Interestingly, it also happened after Donovan Mitchell exited with a groin strain in the second half (full post). Not long after, the Cavs went on a 15-0 run to more or less take control.

4. And man, Darius Garland might have put together his best showing of the season. If not, it was a close second. Looking very much like the All-Star from last year, Garland went for 30 points and 11 assists, burying a big 3-pointer to all but put it away.

5. This after Garland had just five points on 2-of-8 shooting in the first half. But in the final 24 minutes, he scored 25 points (7-of-14 from the field, 4-of-6 on threes).

6. Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Garland: “He took over the game for us. … He’s proven that the moment’s never too big for him.”

7. Jarrett Allen was also again quietly fantastic with 24 points and 11 boards. He also joined Evan Mobley defensively, as the Cavs allowed virtually zero good looks in the paint in the second half.

8. Bickerstaff was also quick to credit the defense of Isaac Okoro for making life a little more difficult for Pelicans star and Canton native CJ McCollum (25 points, 8-of-20 shooting).

9. Meanwhile, Mobley was efficient on offense as well, scoring 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Okoro and Mitchell each scored 11.

10. Bickerstaff on the win: “It wasn’t pretty, but we figured out a way to get it done. And we did it collectively.”

11. Bickerstaff had no update on the severity of Mitchell’s injury immediately following the game. And there really is no predicting those groin injuries. Sometimes they cost you barely any time at all. Other times, it’s worse.

12. Either way, the Cavs (28-17) have a big week ahead. They visit Ja Morant and the Grizzlies on Wednesday, they host the defending champion Warriors on Friday, followed by a home game vs. the Bucks the next night. Yeesh.

13. Obviously, the Pelicans (26-18) have several Cavs connections. Akron native Larry Nance Jr. (four points, three rebounds) received a nice round of applause upon entering. Nance and McCollum are clearly the two biggest Cleveland Browns fans in the NBA, and they’re on the same NBA team.

14. Before the game, I also interrupted a conversation between Pelicans head of basketball operations and former Cavs GM David Griffin and current Cavs head of basketball operations Koby Altman. You will be happy to know neither of them has aged a day since about 2011.

15. And it’s hard-hitting news like that keeps you coming back to Hoops Wire. I hope. Thanks as always for following along and we will have more on Mitchell as the news becomes available.

16. Finally, in case you missed it, the Cavs are reportedly weighing a three-team trade with the Jazz and Hawks. We have that full post here.

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