cavaliers nation

Darius Garland uplifts Donovan Mitchell after he takes blame for Cavs loss vs. Knicks

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland had an important message for teammate Donovan Mitchell after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 105-103 loss to the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

In the matchup, Mitchell didn’t play particularly well in crunch time, missing a handful of key shots in the final minutes. After the game, he said he “let the team down at the end of the game.”

“I screwed that up,” Mitchell said. “The last four possessions, I can cry about the foul calls all I want. I’ve just got to be more poised for our group. I had one turnover on a layup. Even though I feel like I got fouled, pull it out, run a play, get something. And then the second one where I airballed the layup, that’s on me. I let the team down at the end of the game. We played a really good game up until that point, all of us, and I didn’t do my job. That’s on me.”

Garland made sure to tell Mitchell that it wasn’t all on him. In the 22-year-old’s eyes, the Cavs lost the game as a team.

“It’s not all on him,” Garland told Cleveland.com of his message to Mitchell after the game. “That’s why I made sure to go talk to him. It’s on all of us really. If we can’t execute down the stretch, it’s on all of us. Of course, he is going to be hard on himself. He’s going to be a four-time All-Star this year. But it happens. Sometimes it just don’t go your way. We’re behind him. He knows we’ve got his back. It’s a team thing. A couple things we messed up earlier in the fourth quarter where the game shouldn’t have been that close anyway coming down the stretch.”

Mitchell did finish with 24 points, eight assists, eight rebounds and four steals, but his struggles down the stretch overshadowed his overall performance.

It’s great to learn that Garland uplifted Mitchell after the game. Although Mitchell and the Cavs let one slip away on Tuesday, the newcomer has been sensational for Cleveland all season long.

Since joining the Cavs, Mitchell has averaged 28.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game since while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Cleveland is now 29-20 on the season and holds the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s a fine place to be, although it seems like the squad hasn’t really found its stride yet this season.

The good news is that the Cavs still have time to build some momentum before the playoffs arrive, and they have a couple of winnable games coming up on their schedule. They’ll face the Houston Rockets on the road on Thursday before traveling for a Friday matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As the Cavs prepare for their next game, Mitchell is surely motivated to leave Tuesday’s loss in the rearview mirror.

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