Evan Mobley didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 115-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. Yet it was Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland who both shouldered the blame for that happening.
Mobley had everything going throughout the first three quarters, pouring in 31 points and looking well on his way to setting a new career high. But he was a virtual non-factor in the fourth, barely touching the ball while taking and missing his only two shots from the field.
The Cavs’ All-Star backcourt knew that the burden was on them to get their big man involved, via Chris Fedor:
“That can’t happen,” said Mitchell on not getting Evan Mobley involved to end the game. “That starts with myself and Darius (Garland). We’ve got to get Ev the ball. He was the leader the whole game offensively and he can’t finish the game with 31 points after three quarters. That’s on us. Yes, I’m here to kind of be that closer and D.G. is as well. But we have to find ways to get him going and continue to keep him going. That’s part of our maturation.”
The Nuggets didn’t exactly make it easy to feed Evan Mobley either. After getting torched by the second-year man for three quarters, Denver made it a point to deny him the ball.
“They started fronting him a little bit. They started trying to be physical,” Darius Garland explained. “But we gotta look for him a lot more in the fourth quarter when it comes down to crunch time. Just give him the ball in the pocket and let him do what he do.”
With two dynamic playmakers in Mitchell and Garland holding the rock to close the game, it’s on them to ensure that everybody eats. Whenever Evan Mobley is feasting like he was on Thursday, they need to be able to serve him the dishes he deserves.