Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves in a dogfight against the Brooklyn Nets during their season-opener. The Nets, who were buoyed by yet another explosive Cam Thomas performance, made it difficult for the Cavs all night long, with the game hanging in the balance until the game’s final seconds. In the end, it was Mitchell’s three-pointer in the Cavs’ final offensive possession that proved to be the difference in a 114-113 victory.
While Mitchell’s stats on the surface are solid enough, as he dropped 27 points, five rebounds, and six assists on 11-21 shooting from the floor, Spida felt like he could have done more to get others involved in the offense. Nevertheless, with the Cavs having bagged the victory against the Nets, Mitchell still acknowledged that when it’s winning time, it’s time for him to go to work — which he did, when he dropped Cameron Johnson to nail the go-ahead triple.
“I didn’t have the game I wanted to tonight. Didn’t feel like I was the best offensively for my teammates. I feel like I could have been much better. But when it’s time, I do what I’ve got to do,” Mitchell said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Of course, the Cavs will be taking the victory however they can get it, especially as they weather the absence of starting center Jarrett Allen, who’s currently out with a bone bruise. And Donovan Mitchell, being the Cavs’ best player, will deservedly be commanding the ball in crunch time. But Mitchell’s impact shouldn’t come at the expense of his teammates, with Darius Garland and Evan Mobley in particular needing to be better moving forward.
Garland finished with 15 points and five assists while Mobley had 10 points and six rebounds, numbers that won’t cut it for the Cavs as the season progresses. After all, Max Strus won’t be dropping 27 points on seven triples every night. The last thing the Cavs will need is for Mitchell to go hero ball once again, as it caps the team’s overall ceiling.
Whatever the case may be, expect the Cavs to be better as a whole, starting with their next game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.