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Evan Mobley, Cavs hit reset button with big win over Raptors

Evan Mobley
Posted at 10:42 PM, Mar 06, 2022

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers hit the reset button Sunday night as they beat the Toronto Raptors 104-96 inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, with rookie Evan Mobley having perhaps the biggest bounce back performance of the night.

Entering Sunday's contest, which was flexed into primetime by the league back in January, the Cavs were on a three-game losing streak and in an overall rut. The team was struggling with offensive production with the loss of guards Caris LeVert and Rajon Rondo and at times Darius Garland—but also had been struggling on the other side of the ball, which proved to leave a big impact for a team which has found defense to be the true strength of the roster.

But despite still dealing with the injury bug and the challenges that injuries have caused, the Cavs pulled it together Sunday night.

Mobley, Garland and Lauri Markkanen led the way for the Cavs, with Garland notching a double-double with 17 points, 10 assists two steals while Markkanen put up a double-double of his own with 22 points and 12 rebounds, in addition to a block.

"We felt like we needed to get this one to get back on track," Markkanen said after the game.

Cavs Raptors Darius Garland
Cleveland Cavaliers' Darius Garland (10) drives against Toronto Raptors' Gary Trent Jr. (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

But the bench also played a big part in the win Sunday, with Kevin Love and Cedi Osman stepping up throughout the game.

Getting back to his lethal three-point shooting, Love was 3-for-5 from behind the arc while putting up 15 points and nine rebounds to boot.

"We know we have guys that are capable of making threes but we have to make sure were getting the right ones and I thought we got those tonight," head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the game.

Osman drew some of the loudest cheers of the night, catching fire as the first half closed out, hitting three of his six three pointers and notching 13 points. By the end of the night, Osman notched 17 points, three assists and two steals.

Cavs Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers' Cedi Osman (16) shoots against Toronto Raptors' Scottie Barnes (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

But Mobley truly bounced back in a big way himself Sunday night, getting back to his strong defensive ways while also having an impressive offensive outing.

Mobley had been struggling since the All-Star break, having two consecutive games with under-performing numbers. Sunday night's game was not only a reset for the Cavs, but a reset on the first-year big man who proves his importance to the Cavs' success each night.

On Sunday, Mobley was everywhere, putting up 20 points and tying a season-high 17 boards—not to mention his three blocks.

"Like all guys, he might have to fight the physically fatigue but he's not fighting physical fatigue and mental fatigue," Bickerstaff said, noting that Mobley continues to remain even-keeled in his rookie year. "We want him, because he has the ability, to dominate the paint in all facets."

Evan Mobley
Cleveland Cavaliers' Evan Mobley (4) dunks against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Sunday's win was important, serving as a fresh start for the Cavs as they sit in the No. 6 spot in Eastern Conference standings.

"We would not have won this game if we would not have put out this effort," Bickerstaff said. "All of our successes have come from team effort."

The Cavs head to Indianapolis next to take on the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday at 7p.m.

In the meantime, the team will continue monitoring and evaluating Allen to get a better idea of how severe the injury was and how much additional time he may miss.

RELATED: Cavs center Jarrett Allen leaves game against Raptors with leg injury

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

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