Donovan Mitchell shoulders blame for not getting Evan Mobley the ball late in Cavs-Nuggets game

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell took accountability for not getting the ball to Evan Mobley in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

Mobley, who scored 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting, didn’t score a point in the fourth quarter.

“That can’t happen,” Mitchell said. “That starts with myself and Darius [Garland]. We’ve got to get Ev the ball. He was the leader the whole game offensively and he can’t finish the game with 31 points after three quarters. That’s on us. Yes, I’m here to kind of be that closer and D.G. is as well. But we have to find ways to get him going and continue to keep him going. That’s part of our maturation.”

The Cavs scored just 18 points in the fourth quarter, getting outscored by eight points.

Mitchell also made it clear that he was not putting the blame on Mobley for not demanding the ball. He took responsibility for not giving him the rock when he was having such a strong scoring night.

“I’m not putting this on Evan for not demanding the ball,” Mitchell said. “That’s on us to get him the ball and get him in those spots. It’s tough when it’s happening so fast. The looks are different, game slows down, guys are tighter, but we can continue to build on that.”

Mitchell and Garland finished the game with 22 points apiece, but they didn’t have as strong of a game as Mobley. It’s a tough loss for the Cavs, but it did come against a Denver team that holds the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference.

Mobley hasn’t been an elite scorer this season, averaging 16.0 points per game, but he’s shown that he can lead the Cavs in that category at times.

After a strong rookie season, the 21-year-old has been forced to adjust in a big way in his second NBA season with the Cavs adding an All-Star like Mitchell.

Mobley’s shots per game have dipped from 12.0 to 11.8, but he’s been much more efficient this season, shooting 55.4 percent from the field compared to 50.8 percent last season.

It’s great to see Mitchell taking responsibility for the team’s miscues, as it shows the leadership qualities that he possesses.

Even with the loss, the Cavs are still the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and just six games behind the Boston Celtics for the top spot. Cleveland has a quick turnaround, with its next game coming on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.