Cavs Notes: Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Caris LeVert

Random dribbles ahead of the Cavaliers’ road game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday.Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

1. Donovan Mitchell, who missed the previous two games with an undisclosed illness, is listed as probable.

2. The Cavs (36-19) were defeated in both games Mitchell missed. In Friday’s loss at Philadelphia, they failed to hit 100 points for the first time in 31 games.

3. It may just be a coincidence, but the Cavs have lost three of four since Darius Garland reassumed point guard duties. I think Garland plays hard and values winning. He made a fantastic play at the end of the game Friday, when he stole an inbounds pass and made a great feed to Max Strus for a layup. 

4. I might consider playing Mitchell at the point and moving Garland to shooting guard. The offense seems to get moving quicker when the ball starts in Mitchell’s hands.

5. This isn’t intended to rip anyone or downplay Garland’s contributions — which are many. He’s one of the best young guards in the league when he’s in a groove. But this is a results-oriented business and everyone gets to watch you when you work. We all know what we see, and the offense has flowed better this season with Mitchell at the point.

6. Over the last four games, each of the Cavs’ opponents have outworked them, too. That’s not something we’re used to seeing. Cleveland was fortunate to rally to beat the struggling Chicago Bulls at home. Otherwise, we’d be talking about a four-game skid.

7. What’s changed? Well, Garland and Evan Mobley returned and Caris LeVert has gone into a major slump. He finished 1-of-11 shooting against the 76ers.

8. Over the last three games, LeVert is a combined 5-fo-28 from the field and just 1-of-9 on 3-pointers. He’s playing well otherwise, he just can’t knock down a shot. Without Mitchell, that’s a killer. The Cavs need LeVert’s scoring.

9. In fact, the Cavs’ bench has been unproductive overall in the two games since the All-Star break. LeVert, Georges Niang, Dean Wade and Sam Merrill don’t have to be stars, but they can’t just be running around out there — or worse, disappear.

10. Perhaps Isaac Okoro will give the reserve unit a lift. Okoro is having a career year and will likely move back to the bench with Mitchell’s return.

11. Washington (9-47) is just 1-34 against opponents with winning records. That one win came over the Indiana Pacers early in the season, back when the Pacers were 13-10. The Wizards are just 3-23 at home.

12. Translation: The Cas need to use this game to start feeling good about themselves again. Tipoff is 6 p.m. in our nation’s capital.

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