Despite Cavs' loss to Wizards, rookie Evan Mobley still shines

Evan Mobley
Posted at 9:35 PM, Dec 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped their second-straight game Thursday evening, this time to the Washington Wizards . As the team adjusts to life without Ricky Rubio, who tore his ACL Tuesday against the Pelicans and is out for the season, there is a silver lining.

Rookie Evan Mobley stepped up in a big way Thursday, bringing a spark to the offense with Rubio and Darius Garland, who remains in COVID-19 protocols, both out—scoring 21 points with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

"I want Evan to be aggressive. I want him putting pressure on defenses," head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the game. "We'll keep pushing him...we believe there's a lot there and he's shown us that already."

Bickerstaff noted that the struggles the Cavs faced Thursday evening were very much attributed to the growing pains of adjusting to their recent and unexpected roster changes.

"We're still trying to find our way with this new group," Bickerstaff said. "But I thought these guys competed and gave what they had."

Rubio had been a major part of the Cavs success this season, lighting it up for the offense both off the bench and when he was starting, which was his role at the time of his injury with Garland out.

"I just tried to make up for that and go out there and attack," Mobley said after the game.

On Thursday against the Wizards, Kevin Love, like Mobley, stepped up on both sides of the court, putting up 24 points with 11 rebounds and a steal. Lauri Markkanen put up 11 points and eight rebounds while Isaac Okoro scored 11 points of his own.

Despite their best efforts, the Cavs were outscored in the first three quarters and fought a double digit deficit through the rest of the game. Those efforts didn't pay off, but as Bickerstaff said, the team will continue adjusting after the loss of key players and continue working to get back to their winning ways.

The Cavs will close out the year at home at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on New Year's Eve as they take on the Atlanta Hawks. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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