The Cleveland Cavaliers saw Lauri Markaknen and Darius Garland step up in a big way against the Magic.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a winning season without LeBron James for the first time since 1998 when Shawn Kemp was the team’s de facto star. This team around, the Cavs got a lot of help from centerpiece Darius Garland, and Lauri Markkanen, who’s exploded in recent weeks since coming back from the All-Star break.
The Cavs did a lot wrong against the Magic, but they did a lot right. Namely, they took Franz Wagner out of the game and held him to only eight shots. He made half of what he took, granted, but he’s such a good raw scorer that limiting the number of shots he takes was a key to winning this game.
Wendell Carter did some damage inside, a common practice without Jarrett Allen, but thankfully some key shooting by Kevin Love really helped keep the Cavs afloat when they hit some lean spells.
The Cavaliers got the win 107-101, and are officially 42-33. Even if they lose all of their games, the worst their record could be is 42-40. They remain one game out of the sixth and fifth seeds, as the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls continue to keep their lead over the Cavs.
The one saving grace about this late-season skid is that the Cavs are officially heading to the postseason, it’s just a matter of if it’s in the play-in or in the playoffs proper.
Lauri Markkanen and Darius Garland showed up when needed most for the Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavs Top 3:
- Kevin Love
- Lauri Markkanen
- Darius Garland
Kevin Love gets the first point, even though he shot just 4-12 from three. He did finish with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a respectable BPM of -2. His shooting heroics kept the game going when the rest of the Cavs started slumping.
The two points go to Lauri Markkanen, who had 20 points, three rebounds, and a BPM of +11. His defense on the perimeter has been meaningful all season long, and while it’s mostly due to him just being longer than anyone, it has helped.
Lastly, the three points go to Darius Garland, who was a stud all night. He scored 25 points, had 12 assists, had three steals, and a PBM of +15. It doesn’t hurt that Cole Anthony is an atrociously ineffective shooter and that RJ Hampton isn’t what they were hoping for so far. That meant that Garland feasted all night.
- Darius Garland (86 points)
- Jarrett Allen (68 points)
- Kevin Love (63)
- Lauri Markkanen (58 points)
- Evan Mobley (51 points)
- Cedi Osman ( 36 points)
- Ricky Rubio (32 points)
- Isaac Okoro (18 points)
- Dean Wade (10 points)
- Rajon Rondo (6 points)
- Lamar Stevens (5 points)
- Caris LeVert (4 points)
- Brandon Goodwin (3 points)
- Dylan Windler (1 point)