Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell recently shared a memory of when Russell Westbrook shut him down when he was trying to show the floor general respect.
“And then we get to — we play OKC (Oklahoma City Thunder),” Mitchell said. “That’s another one. And Russell Westbrook is a guy I try to emulate, two-handed finishes and whatnot. And you know when you watch somebody so much, you feel like you know ’em? So, we at the free-throw line. He gets me on a shot fake, and I go — I said something like, ‘Good shot fake’ or something. He looked at me. He go like [confused face] and then walked away. I was just like, ‘Ah, s—.’ I felt like such a dumba– ’cause he was like, ‘Who the f— are you?'”
Mitchell — who spent the first five seasons of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz — is in his second season as a member of the Cavaliers organization. In 15 games played so far during the 2023-24 regular season, he is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from behind the 3-point line.
The Cavaliers own an 11-9 record right now, which is tied with Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland got off to a slow start this season but is playing better basketball of late, as evidenced by the team’s 7-3 record over its past 10 games.
Cleveland is fresh off a victory over Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons back on Dec. 2. Mitchell had a productive game in the win, seeing as how he recorded 20 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals while shooting 7-of-19 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range.
Max Strus — who was acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with the Heat during the offseason — and Darius Garland were the team’s leading scorers against Detroit though as they each scored 22 points. The former also knocked down four 3-pointers, while the latter made two.
Mitchell and the Cavaliers have a matchup against a very difficult opponent on the horizon. Cleveland will play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. The Magic have been arguably the hottest team in the NBA over the last few weeks, as the team has won nine out of its last 10 games and owns the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 14-6, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
Cavaliers fans should be excited for the team’s game against the Magic, as it will serve as a great test for a Cleveland team that is trying to continue its climb up the Eastern Conference standings.