A heroic 25-point performance from Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell wasn’t the only thing keeping him from containing his excitement after aiding in extending a six-game Cavs winning streak.
The return of Donovan Mitchell’s All-Star backcourt teammate prompted a late-night post from the Cavs’ leading scorer just hours after the two played a key role in Cleveland’s second win over the Boston Celtics in four days.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) November 3, 2022
The pair combined for 54 points, 18 assists and nine rebounds in the first 40-minute game Darius Garland has played since an April 8th matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. Garland confidently shot 20 field goals as he deviated from the pass-first mentality he took before the start of the season, firing contested 3-pointers over Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and guard Marcus Smart seemingly the moment he was open.
Donovan Mitchell said he encouraged Darius Garland to come out shooting in an effort to help the 22-year-old become more comfortable on the floor, but never expected him to perform as well as he did after missing a significant amount of time.
“I can’t speak for everybody else, but I didn’t know what his rhythm was going to be like after being out for a month,” Mitchell said in a postgame press conference. “He came out like he’s been playing with us for this whole stretch.
“He really sparked us, especially in that first half, and he always seemed like he’s under control. It’s great to have him back out there.”
Cleveland’s win streak was paved by astonishing performances from Mitchell, who is averaging 31.1 points per game on a 48% field goal percentage in his first seven games as a Cavalier. Mitchell highlighted the streak with an almost-career night from both him and guard Caris LeVert as the two combined for 82 points against the Celtics last Friday.
Donovan Mitchell said Garland looked like a “kid in a candy store” when attending the Cavs’ pre-game practice before playing what he called Garland’s first real game of the season with the extra energy needed to earn his highest point total since last April.
“When you’re out for that long, it can take a toll on you,” Mitchell said. “But (Garland) continued to be the best teammate when he was out.
“You all saw his energy tonight. He probably won’t be able to sleep for the next eight hours, maybe not at all, but that’s what you get with (Garland).”