East Notes: Cavs, Evan Mobley, Pistons, Celtics

Cavaliers

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Cavaliers have won five of six, thanks to a 102-94 comeback road victory over the Pistons on Sunday.

Donovan Mitchell erupted for 32 points, but Darius Garland (19 points) struggled to a 4-of-19 night from the field. That’s one reason why Evan Mobley‘s 20 points and 13 rebounds were so important.

“He’s really being aggressive,” Mitchell told reporters of Mobley. “He was the reason we stayed in the game for the first three quarters.”

The Cavs (13-7) were down four key players — Kevin Love, Lamar Stevens, Caris LeVert and All-Star Jarrett Allen. They kept things close for the first 36 minutes, but couldn’t get over the hump until the final 12.

Again, Mobley was a big reason why the Cavs even had a chance while everyone else struggled.

“We didn’t want to put everything on Donovan and Darius, which is why Evan was so important on both ends of the floor,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He saved us when everyone was struggling.”

  • Allen (hip/back), LeVert (ankle), Love (thumb) and Stevens (sick) are all considered questionable/doubtful for the Cavs’ road game Monday vs. the Raptors. After that, Cleveland will host the 76ers on Wednesday.
  • Bickerstaff on the win: “It wasn’t a terrible game, but we missed a lot of shots we usually make. We did a good job of creating those shots, but they just didn’t go in. Credit the guys for finding a way to win us the win.”

Pistons

Despite being without the likes of the injured Cade Cunningham (shin), Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle), Jaden Ivey (knee) and Isaiah Stewart (foot), the Pistons battled every bit as intensely as they did on a recent swing out West.

“They have one of the best defenses in the NBA, and they really stepped it up in the fourth quarter,” coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “The baskets we were getting in the first quarter weren’t there in the fourth and we didn’t do enough to adjust.”

  • Detroit finished just 14-of-26 from the free-throw line, a big deal in a game that was close most of the way. “Some of the time, it is just that simple — you have to make your free throws,” Casey said. “Our guys worked hard to get to the line, but you have to score when you get there.”
  • Entering the night, the Pistons (5-17) had played six games in nine days on their West trip, and had just one day off before facing the Cavs.

Celtics

Jaylen Brown has scored 25 or more points in nine straight games, including 36 in the Celtics’ home win over the Wizards on Sunday.

Brown had to carry the load, given that fellow star Jayson Tatum missed his first game of the season, after suffering a sprained ankle.

“I enjoyed just playing basketball,” Brown told reporters. ”It’s what the season is about. There’s going to be guys in, guys out. We’ve got to be able to maintain our level of play when our big dog is not in the rotation. It was fun. It challenges everybody to step up in their roles.”

The Celtics (16-4) sport the best record in the NBA one season after making it to the Finals.

“I think we’re in a good spot and I think we still haven’t played out best ball yet,” Brown said.

  • The Celtics improved to 9-1 at home, and have a chance to become the first team to hit double-digits in home wins this season Monday vs. the Hornets.

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