Darius Garland keeps proving he's an All-Star

Darius Garland
Posted at 10:45 PM, Jan 15, 2022

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road Saturday, 107-102. But while the impressive come-from-behind win was a team effort, Darius Garland stole the show and proved exactly why he deserves to be an All-Star this season.

During the Cavs' road trip that wrapped up against the Thunder, Garland shined. He put up a double-double against the Kings with 12 points and 11 assists, recorded his first career triple-double against the Utah Jazz with 11 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds—and on Saturday Garland set a career high in assists while helping lead the Cavs to the win over OKC.

The Thunder, another struggling team on the schedule, took advantage of the Cavs' fatigue in their second game of a back-to-back and the final game on the six-game road trip, outscoring Cleveland in the first and second quarters and gaining an 18-point lead heading into the second half.

But Garland took over and his third quarter was a basketball masterclass. In the 12 minute span, Garland scored 14 points and put up 10 assists. He ended with 27 points, a career-high 18 assists, five rebounds and a steal. The 18 assists tied Chris Paul for the most single-game assists of any player in the league so far this season.

Garland has blossomed into a dominant guard in the NBA this season, averaging 19.5 points, 7.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. His passing and scoring has been phenomenal—finding opportunities for his teammates in any situation, facilitating the offense with ease and taking over when the team needs him most.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Garland is learning to dominate the game, reading the court and seeing plays develop that many others wouldn't be able to.

"He's got a burning desire to go out and win basketball games," Bickerstaff said. "He's determined to win basketball games and there's a fire that's within him to go get the job done."

On Thursday, the second All-Star voting returns were released and Garland was No. 9. in guard voting, with Jarrett Allen at No. 6 in frontcourt voting. Fans can still help send Garland and his teammates to the All-Star Game being hosted in Cleveland next month by clicking here.

But Garland said his focus isn't on making the All-Star Game. He has bigger goals in mind.

"Not really, we want to get to the playoffs. That's our goal. So whatever it takes to try to get to the offs and just try to lead our team, that's what we're here to do," Garland said Friday night.

RELATED: Cavs' Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen break Top 10 in NBA All-Star voting

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