— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) January 13, 2023
Rubio, who tore his ACL with Cleveland last season, played 10 minutes in Cleveland’s win, scoring nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field. He added three rebounds and an assist as well for Cleveland.
The Cavs outscored the Blazers by 10 points in the fourth quarter to come away with a 119-113 win. The win and a loss by the Philadelphia 76ers bumped the Cavs back into the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference.
In 34 games with the Cavs in the 2021-22 campaign, Rubio had put up some of his best numbers in a few seasons. The former No. 5 overall pick averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 36.3 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Cleveland traded Rubio to the Indiana Pacers last season at the trade deadline to add wing Caris LeVert. However, the team valued him so much that it signed him in the offseason even though he was still recovering from his knee injury.
While Rubio and Mitchell hadn’t played on the Cavs together until this season, the two were both with the Utah Jazz early in Mitchell’s career. Rubio was the team’s starting point guard during Mitchell’s first two seasons in the NBA.
It appears they have a good relationship, as the Cavs star was fired up to see his veteran teammate back on the floor.
A proven veteran, Rubio is one of the game’s best playmakers, averaging 7.6 assists per game for his career.
The Cavs are hoping that he can handle a few more minutes as the season goes on to take some pressure off of Mitchell and Garland in the backcourt. The addition of Rubio to the rotation should also open things up for Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and LeVert to get some easier looks.
Cleveland is looking like a true contender in the Eastern Conference this season, and Rubio certainly elevates the team’s bench unit.
There’s no doubt that Mitchell and the Cavs should be fired up to have him back on the floor.