Cleveland Cavaliers sizzle in home opener
The Cleveland Cavaliers earned a hard-fought 117-107 overtime victory against the visiting Washington Wizards in their season home opener behind the red-hot newcomer Donovan Mitchell.
Not only did he make Cavaliers history by becoming the first player to notch back-to-back 30-point outings to open a season, but a seemingly revitalized Mitchell upped that streak to three–and counting.
The three-time NBA All-Star continued to go on a tear in a Cavs uniform, tallying 37 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals to lift Cleveland to two consecutive wins early in the season.
Despite having the lead for nearly the entire contest since opening the second quarter, the Cavs slipped late to allow the Wizards to come back. Still trailing by seven with 1:25 remaining, Washington made a furious rally while holding the hosts scoreless to force the extra period.
Fortunately for Cleveland, Mitchell came through in the clutch to seal the win in overtime.
The Cavs reserves have been instrumental
At least two key second-unit players have been stepping up in each of the past three games, with Cedi Osman being the most consistent thus far.
The Turkish gunner came off the bench for another efficient offensive game, putting in 16 points to join five other Cavaliers players who tallied double figures in the win against the Wizards.
A primarily defensive-minded player, Isaac Okoro, continued to start in the absence of Garland but once again scored only two points. He played only 20 minutes, allowing Osman to come in and help carry the scoring load.
With Darius Garland still out from a lacerated eyelid from that inadvertent eye poke during the season opener, the Cavs should rely on every available body to contribute so as to not wear Mitchell out this early in the season.
Even after appearing on the bench to provide an emotional boost to the team, Garland could still end up sitting out the next game. Fortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they won’t have to play until the 27th when the Orlando Magic comes to town.