The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped another home game to start the 2023-24 season, though the fact that they were down three starters certainly played a part. With no Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland or Jarrett Allen, the Cavs couldn’t keep up with the Indiana Pacers. They trailed for nearly the last three quarters of the game and lost 125-113. Great showings from Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert weren’t enough.
The main good news from the game was how good Mobley looked. He had 33 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks while shooting 12-13 from the field. He looked comfortable taking the ball to the rack himself, using nasty spin moves to free up the space to score. He followed missed shots for easy putbacks and got buckets as the roller in the pick-and-roll. The game never got too far away from Cleveland until later in the fourth quarter thanks to 21 second-half points from the big man.
A thing of beauty pic.twitter.com/nFg0uGJbve
— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) October 29, 2023
Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants Mobley to assert himself in the paint and complimented the 22-year-old for his leadership, according to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com.
“We want Evan to dominate the paint,” Bickerstaff said, via cleveland.com. “I think tonight he did that on both ends. He rebounded on both ends and obviously how he was attacking the rim. Each of our guys has ownership of this team and we ask them to lead in different ways. That was an example of Evan’s leadership.”
Evan Mobley’s thin frame has often been seen as one of his key weaknesses. Being physical in the paint is an area of growth after getting punked in the playoffs. He showed off his improved mindset and physicality by taking it right at Myles Turner, one of the NBA’s best shot-blockers, numerous times. When he has his star teammates, it will be much easier to attack the rim.
Caris LeVert had a strong game, too, tallying 31 points, eight assists and five rebounds. The Pacers had three players score at least 20 points. Tyrese Haliburton led the way with 21 points and a game-high 13 assists.
The Cavs will get a few days to rest before finishing up their homestand on Tuesday against the New York Knicks.