When healthy, the Cavaliers have established themselves as true contenders in the East. If Evan Mobley continues to crank it up on the offensive end, they’re going to be a major problem for everyone moving forward.
Bouncing back from a listless performance the previous evening, the Wine & Gold got their act together in the second half of the back-to-back – pulling past the Bucks, 114-102, behind a massive effort from Mobley on Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton and the Cavs, without Donovan Mitchel for the third straight game. Jrue Holiday continued to pick up the slack for his missing mates; Mobley did the offensive heavy lifting for Cleveland.
The soft-spoken sophomore from USC was aggressive from the opening tip – setting career marks for both field goal attempts (27) and makes (19) en route to his career-high 38-point performance, leading Cleveland with nine boards to go with three assists. And he was especially good late – netting 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the final period as the Cavs pulled away for the season split with Milwaukee.
With those numbers, Mobley became just the fourth Cavalier 21-years-old or younger to notch at least 38 points, as well as the fourth player in the three-point era to net 38 points-plus without hitting a single three-pointer or free throw.
The Cavaliers led most of the way on Saturday, including the entire third quarter, before the Bucks took a brief lead to start the fourth. But Mobley took over down the stretch and Cleveland cruised to the win over the final half of the period.
Darius Garland was outstanding again, following up with 21 points and a team-best 10 assists – his fourth straight game with double-digit dimes – going 9-for-16 from the floor, adding three boards and a pair of steals while committing just a single turnover in 35 minutes of work.
Jrue Holiday led Milwaukee wit 28 points and 10 assists, going 12-for-27 from the floor. Bobby Portis doubled-up wit 23 points and a game-high 11 boards in the loss.
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