East Notes: Cavs, Donovan Mitchell, Pacers, Bucks, Damian Lillard


For the first time this season, the Cavaliers had their entire staring five in Friday’s road loss to the Pacers, the first of the In-Season Tournament.Donovan Mitchell

But it was a slow start, followed by a big finish that fell just short. And star guard Donovan Mitchell said he’s not too worried about that — or the Cavs’ 2-4 start to the season.

“This loss sucks. Wasn’t a great performance,” Mitchell said, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “But not dwelling on it. Not sitting here sulking about it. I think we are in a good headspace as a group. Nothing to overreact about.”

  • The Cavs came all the way back from 18 points to take the lead. They had a chance to tie down three with less than 10 seconds left, but Caris LeVert just missed on a 3-pointer. “Caris missed a tough one,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle told reporters.
  • I have plenty more on the Cavs and their loss Friday (and more) in the latest batch of dribbles. You can check them out here.


Guard Tyrese Haliburton and others mentioned that the Pacers’ In-Season Tournament court appeared to be not just shiny — but fairly slippery.

“It was definitely slick to start the game. I don’t know if it’s a league-wide thing with the paint on the floor, or if that was just (us) tonight,” Haliburton said, via Nathan Brown of the Indianapolis Star. “Early in the game, I do think everyone was a little concerned. I felt like I was sliding everywhere. I’d take a step forward and then go to turn, and there was no turning around.”

No matter, coach Rick Carlisle was pleased with the outcome after the Pacers blew an 18-point lead.

“I thought the first half was one of the best we’ve played all year,” he said, via Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “And then the third quarter was rough, but the fourth quarter, we held strong and got it done, and it was a strong show of character for our team.

“Cleveland’s got a lot of weapons, and they come at you hard, and it was a bend-don’t-break kind of game for us.”


Guard Damian Lillard said it’s taking some time, but chemistry with forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is beginning to surface.

“We’re trying to learn each other,” Lillard told reporters. “We’re trying to figure out ways to play off of each other and figure out what works for each other.”

Lillard scored 30 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:03 left to lift the Bucks over the Knicks in the opener of the In-Season Tournament.

  • Center Brook Lopez suggested he’s a fan of new coach Adrian Griffin. “I think we have a lot of guys that are very coachable. To have a head coach who’s willing to listen in that regard and talk those things out, that’s great,” Lopez said

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