The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a win to avoid falling behind .500, and they were able to hold down the fort despite a subpar game by Donovan Mitchell.
The Toronto Raptors were as physical as per usual, driving to the rim and looking to make the most of their damage in the restricted area, scoring 50 of his 102 points in the paint.
That’s why Cavs veteran Georges Niang credited Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen for making their presence felt below the rim, as they knew the Raptors would look to bully them inside, and they were able to set the tone defensively (via Bally Sports Cleveland).
"We have a luxury of having two shot blockers at the rim and Toronto really likes to score in the paint. They did a really amazing job tonight anchoring the defense."
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) November 27, 2023
Mobley and Allen combined for 18 rebounds and four blocks, and they made some huge defensive plays down the stretch.
There have been some doubts about their ability to coexist on the court, especially if Mobley doesn’t become a consistent three-point shooter, but they can be a very dominant defensive one-two punch.
Donovan Mitchell wasn’t at his best in this matchup and was only able to score ten points on 17 shots, adding five rebounds and four assists.
Still, Darius Garland shouldered the load with 24 points and eight dimes in 41 minutes, making the Raptors pay in the half-court every single time they failed to get back on defense.
The Cavs are now 9 and 8 and sit at the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
They have a tough task ahead of them with a home game vs. Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, and their frontcourt will be key again to get the job done on Tuesday night.