An under-the-weather Donovan Mitchell and the last day of a five-game road trip could be partially blamed for the Cavs’ loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday. But they made no excuses.
“I just think tonight, we had too many mental lapses,” Cavs coach J.B Bickerstaff told reporters. “We didn’t play well enough to win. The Timberwolves outplayed us. I think it’s that simple.”
The Cavs (27-17) fell to 9-13 on the road, which by NBA standards, isn’t terrible. But they would definitely like to see it improve by playoff time.
- Mitchell had been battling flu-like conditions the final two games of the trip but is not listed on the injury report for Monday’s home matinee vs. the Pelicans. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day special is slated for 3 p.m.
- Also, forward Evan Mobley banged his knee vs. the Timberwolves and exited just before halftime. But he returned for the second half and is also good to go Monday.
Power forward Julius Randle had 42 points and 15 rebounds on Sunday as the Knicks continued their dominance against the Pistons.
In fact, Randle averaged 28.5 points in four games vs. the Pistons, and the Knicks won them all. Their winning streak vs. Detroit is actually now 11 games.
“I’m not sure it has anything to with Detroit,” Randle told reporters. “I feel like I can get my shot away against any team.”
- Randle’s performance Sunday was the Knicks’ first 40/15 double-double since Patrick Ewing did it on Jan. 19, 1996.
- Point guard Jalen Brunson not only scored 27 points, but took three charges. He is now with Cavs power forward Kevin Love and Thunder small forward Kenrich Williams for the league lead.
- Coach Tom Thibodeau on Brunson: “That says to me that you are sacrificing yourself for the team — sometimes it is taking a charge, setting a screen, or being the first player on the floor. That all goes into winning.”
- Randle on the Knicks’ mindset: “We’re trying to build ourselves as a team so, when the playoffs happen, we’re ready for it.”
- Guard/forward DeMar DeRozan (quad) missed his third straight game in Sunday’s win over the Warriors, but coach Billy Donovan said he suspects DeRozan should be able to return Thursday.
- Center Nikola Vucevic matched his career-high with 43 points in the win. The Bulls had lost 11 straight vs. the Warriors.
- The Bulls could be one of the more active teams heading into the Feb. 9 trade deadline. We have the latest on that right here.