The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered another frustrating defeat on Monday when they nearly overcame a 19-point deficit, only to fall to the San Antonio Spurs, 112-111, in the final seconds.
There were a couple of bright spots from Cleveland’s loss, and the biggest one was its newest star.
1. Donovan Mitchell Shined Brightly In His Return
Donovan Mitchell missed the Cavs’ last two games with a leg ailment, but he came back on Monday in San Antonio, and he played up to his standards.
He went 12-of-24 from the field and scored 28 points, and as he often does, he played well down the stretch as the Cavs made their run to put themselves in position to have a shot at winning.
The one blemish for Mitchell was his potential game-winning layup that got blocked by Keldon Johnson in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Keldon Johnson in a 112-111 win vs. the Cavs : 21 points on 8-25 shooting, 1-6 from 3, 4-5 from the FT line & 6 rebounds in 34 minutes (Blocked Donovan Mitchell's potential go-ahead layup with 6.1 seconds left) pic.twitter.com/rTywIzkAc0
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) December 13, 2022
He has become the unquestioned star of the team, and its best player since LeBron James left in 2018.
Unfortunately, his backcourt mate was a dud.
2. Darius Garland Failed To Measure Up
Darius Garland‘s shooting accuracy has been up and down all season, and overall, his shooting percentage is down from last season.
He went 7-of-22 on Monday versus the Spurs, and right before Mitchell’s game-winning attempt got blocked, Garland had a good look at a 3-pointer, which he missed.
The fourth-year man also had four turnovers, something which has been a mild concern for him over the last couple of years.
For the Cavs to take the next step forward, Garland will have to rediscover the solid shooting efficiency he displayed last season when he made his first All-Star team.