The Cleveland Cavaliers were without two of their top players for the latter half of December 2023 and almost all of January 2024 as Darius Garland was out with a jaw injury and Evan Mobley underwent knee surgery. Despite the huge blow these injuries took to the Cavaliers’ lineup, the team was able to go 14-5 during this stretch and string together an eight-game winning streak despite being without two of their top performers. Several players stepped up during this stretch including Sam Merrill, Georges Niang, and Isaac Okoro. Merrill earned a career-high for points on December 20 versus the Utah Jazz when he scored 27 points. Niang had a career night on January 17 versus the Milwaukee Bucks when he scored 33 points, 20 of which came in the first half. Okoro consistently provided quality defense for the Cavaliers during the stretch without Garland and Mobley. Okoro is consistently tasked with guarding top-tier players like Damian Lillard and is always up to the challenge. Okoro provided quality minutes for the Cavaliers throughout the stretch where Mobley and Garland were injured.
Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen also provided the Cavaliers with top-tier play while the team was without Garland and Mobley. Mitchell scored over 20 points in all but two games during this stretch, scoring 45 points on January 11 in the Cavaliers’ game against the Brooklyn Nets. Mitchell set a career-high for assists on January 22 versus the Orlando Magic. Mitchell was named to the All-Star Game reserves list on February 1. This will be Mitchell’s fifth time as an NBA All-Star.
Allen broke the Cavaliers’ franchise record for consecutive double-doubles with 12 straight double-doubles on January 22 versus the Orlando Magic. Allen’s double-double streak was broken on February 1 versus the Memphis Grizzlies as Allen exited the game in the third quarter.
Return of Two Greats
Evan Mobley returned to play on January 31 for the Cavaliers game versus the Detroit Pistons just six weeks after his knee surgery. Mobley played for 22 minutes, scored 8 points, dished out 4 assists, and grabbed 3 rebounds. Mobley sat out for the Cavaliers game versus the Memphis Grizzlies on February 1. Mobley played for 23 minutes in the Cavaliers’ game versus the San Antonio Spurs on February 3. He scored 28 points, dished out 3 assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Darius Garland returned to play on February 1 in the Cavaliers’ game versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Garland played for 24 minutes, scored 9 points, and dished out 7 assists. In the Cavaliers’ game versus the San Antonio Spurs, Garland played for 23 minutes, scored 4 points, and dished out 4 assists.
The Cavaliers are glad to have Mobley and Garland back.
The Cavaliers broke into third place in the Eastern Conference with their win on February 3. The Cavaliers have a current record of 31-16. The Cavaliers are in the midst of a five-game winning streak. The Cavaliers’ next game is set for Monday February 5 at home versus the Sacramento Kings at 7:00 PM. `
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