Donovan Mitchell couldn’t lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a Game 1 win on his own. He needed some of his younger co-stars to step up in Game 2 – and Darius Garland heeded that call.
Garland was all kinds of aggressive on Tuesday night. The fourth-year guard nearly doubled his Game 1 scoring output with 32 points in Game 2 on just 17 shots. Even more encouraging were his six triples and 11 free throw attempts, which could’ve been mistaken as part of one of Mitchell’s gaudy playoff stat lines over the years.
Spida had 13 assists on the night to help get the rest of the Cavs going. But perhaps equally important was his conversation with DG after Sunday’s Game 1 loss. The two All-Star guards have held one-on-one chats at times throughout the season, with this one arguably being the most important of the year so far, via Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor:
“Be the All-Star that you are,” Donovan Mitchell told Garland at the end of that chat.
“That’s the All-Star we all know. It was great to see. I told him at the end of the day, that’s what we’re going to need. I think it showed a level of maturity in a lot of different ways.”
The two separate scoring outbursts from the Cavs’ backcourt stars were exactly what fans envisioned when they made the trade to acquire Donovan Mitchell in the first place. Both guards are terrific playmakers that can feed off one another while also being capable of going off when need be. Mitchell’s long proven he could do it when the lights are brightest, and now Darius Garland has followed suit.