East Notes: Cavs, Darius Garland, Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, Magic


Point guard Darius Garland said the Cavs never lost confidence after blowing a double-digit lead in Tuesday’s road win over the 76ers. In fact, he said he actually liked the Cavs’ chances as the game headed into overtime.Darius Garland

“We got them where we wanted them,” Garland told reporters, describing the team’s mood as OT began. “We just had to go back to what was working. We needed to go back (to the paint), attack (Joel Embiid) and try to get him out of the game (with fouls.)”

Foul out Embiid did and the Cavs held on without the injured Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro.

“These guys want to do it for each other,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The Cavaliers way is that the team is better than the individual. These guys bought into it and they are figuring out who we are.”

  • Garland added that the win keeps the Cavs believing in good things. “It gives us some confidence,” he said. “We have to keep it rolling, keep moving the ball and the bodies moving. Our bigs have been holding it down right now.”
  • I have plenty more thoughts and observations from the game in the latest random dribbles. You can check them out here.
  • No less than NBA legend Charles Barkley offered some high praise for the Cavs. You can check out that full post here.
  • The Cavs (8-6) return home to face the Heat on Wednesday. As we relayed here, old friend Kevin Love will not be there. He’s out for personal reasons.


The Pacers became the first team to clinch a berth in the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals, courtesy of Tuesday’s defenseless 157-152 road win over the Hawks.

“It is exciting,” point guard Tyrese Haliburton told reporters. “We are the first team to clinch and we are ready to go. We have a few more games before the quarterfinals, so we want to take care of what is in front of us first, but we want to win the championship, of course. It would be awesome.”

  • Haliburton was magnificent, finishing with 37 points and 16 assists — leading the entire NBA in the latter category. “Tyrese, you just run out of accolades,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Fearless, leader, great competitor. So happy for him.”
  • Carlisle also had plenty to say about the Pacers advancing. “This essentially is a playoff environment,” he said. “Atlanta was playing for a lot, too. The in-season tournament is getting a lot of buzz. … This is a real thing. Hats off to the people in New York for coming up with something that, at least to this point, is strong.”


The Magic have won four straight and are 2-0 in the group stage of the In-Season Tournament after topping the Raptors on Tuesday. They credited the defense, led by guard Jalen Suggs, who worked so hard he needed to come out of the game for a breather.

“In one moment he was asking for a timeout for himself because he had played himself to exhaustion,” coach Jamahl Mosley. “The next moment he makes a three and then they’re calling timeout. His energy is just contagious… it’s just incredible how he’s willing to throw his body everywhere.”

  • While the Magic are generally balanced on offense, they are trying to form their identity at the other end. “Defense is the thing that’s going to travel every game,” center Paolo Banchero said. “As long as the defense is there, we feel like we’ll be in every game.”

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