The Cleveland Cavaliers improve to 16-2 at home, led by Donovan Mitchell
The third time is a charm for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they successfully shot down the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks at home, 114-106. Despite going up huge early, the Cavs had a few scares late before finally shutting down the Central Division powerhouse in the final minutes of the game.
Even after leading by as much as 24 points, Cleveland began to see ghosts of past collapses as they saw their division rivals slowly chip away, coming to within just five with less than two and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Not this time, as Darius Garland hit a jumper and two succeeding free throws to effectively put the game away with precious seconds ticking away. He finished with 23 points but the stars of the show were the dueling superstars in teammate Donovan Mitchell and the Bucks’ megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo erupted for 45 points to go with 14 rebounds in another stellar showing, but Cleveland also had their superhero persona in three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell, who tallied 36 points and six assists to finally lead the red-hot Cavaliers over the hump in their third crack against Milwaukee this season.
The Cavs have two more challenges coming in the homestand
Cleveland’s defensive anchor Jarrett Allen was also huge, chipping in with 19 points while forming a wall in the interior with Tower City frontcourt partner Evan Mobley, who had played fewer minutes against Milwaukee after suffering from foul trouble.
Winning five-straight games push the Cavaliers to a solid 22-11 record overall while maintaining their nearly pristine 16-2 record at home–their best home start at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse since the 2008-09 season, and back when fans fondly called the building The Q.
While this feat at home is no doubt very impressive, it is a stark contrast to their pedestrian 6-9 record away on the road. Luckily, there will be two more games in their building throughout the holidays, although both games will certainly not be a walk in the park.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will first welcome their early-season tormentors Toronto Raptors into the building on the 23rd, before having a scheduled heavyweight bout with the Brooklyn Nets on Boxing Day to close out this crucial homestand.