Cavaliers fail to snatch a comeback win on the road vs Grizzlies
Undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers fall short
The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a heartbreaking 115-114 loss on the road against the surging Memphis Grizzlies. After a promising three-game streak to start the new year, the Cavs have now alternately lost four of their last seven outings.
Donovan Mitchell, who left the previous game in the fourth quarter with a groin strain, remained out for the game and the Cavaliers went to Darius Garland to run the show once again. The one-time NBA All-Star guard led the team with 24 points and 14 assists but came just short of towing them to the finish line after his potential game-winning shot was blocked by Memphis’ Desmond Bane.
Cleveland once again found themselves on the back foot and trailed by as much as 19 points in the second quarter, but raced back to force a tight ballgame and put themselves in a position to steal the win late.
Carrying a slim, one-point lead in the final two minutes, Garland had multiple chances to extend their lead and build a wider cushion but appeared to run out of ammunition and missed three consecutive attempts–two of them blocked by the Grizzlies.
The Cavs still struggle to finish close games
With the lead still on hand, a costly five-second violation was the beginning of doom for the Cavaliers in Memphis, with a putback by Grizzlies big man Steven Adams off a Ja Morant miss gave the home team the advantage with the final seconds ticking off the clock.
Caris LeVert had 23 points, while Evan Mobley had 18 points and 15 rebounds, but the breakout player for the Cavs was Isaac Okoro, who had a perfect shooting day from the field including a perfect 4-for-4 clip from deep. Cleveland once again had all five starters finish with double-digits in scoring, though yet again had not a single backup player joining that party.
With the loss, the Cleveland Cavaliers remain stuck in fifth place with a 28-18 record but are also still only one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for third in the razor-thin Eastern Conference postseason race. They will now continue on westward to visit former fierce rivals Golden State Warriors on January 20.