Donovan Mitchell expresses displeasure with controversial call at end of Cavs-Raptors game

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a close loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday, and Cavs star Donovan Mitchell was called for two lane violations down the stretch.

The first one came with a couple minutes remaining, and after the game, Mitchell implied that he didn’t have a problem with the call.

However, he wasn’t a fan of the ruling on the second one. It came with just seconds remaining and the Cavs down by two. Mitchell was at the line for a free throw, which he seemingly missed intentionally in hopes of generating an offensive rebound. But he was called for a lane violation, killing the play.

“I haven’t seen the play,” Mitchell began. “But I feel like I’m right. I could be wrong. I feel like I waited. I practice those. That was tough. I didn’t agree. Shouldn’t have come down to that. I’ve been called for one before, but never two in a row. The first one I left early. I definitely did. The second one, I don’t think you call that.”

Mitchell had a decent showing overall, as he finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. But he wasn’t particularly efficient from the field (8-for-21 overall), and his contributions weren’t quite enough for the Cavs to earn a win on the road.

Cleveland has now lost two games in a row, but the squad has a manageable stretch coming up that could help it generate some momentum. The Cavs’ next five games will come against the Washington Wizards (twice), San Antonio Spurs, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls. All of those teams have losing records.

Mitchell, of course, is having a strong season in his second year with the Cavs. He’s averaging 27.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc.

He’s had to carry a heavy load at times due to injuries, but that won’t always be the case, as Cleveland will eventually get players like Darius Garland and Evan Mobley back.

Mitchell has been mentioned in lots of trade speculation this season, but it doesn’t seem like the Cavs have any interest in moving him. That should give Cleveland’s talented core a chance to make some noise in the 2024 postseason after the team failed to meet expectations in the 2023 playoffs.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.