Donovan Mitchell led the charge with 25 points and seven assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers secured a 108-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies during Thursday’s NBA action. This victory marked their fourth consecutive win and 12th in the last 13 games.
Caris LeVert contributed 16 points off the bench, while Jarrett Allen recorded 14 points and nine rebounds. Max Strus had 11 points and 10 rebounds, respectively. Allen exited the game early in the third quarter with a left ankle injury, ending his record franchise streak of consecutive double-doubles at 16.
In his second appearance since returning from a 19-game absence due to a fractured jaw, Darius Garland scored nine points and provided seven assists. Just a night before, he had scored 19 points in a victory against Detroit. Evan Mobley was sidelined for the game as the team managed his playing time following his return from knee surgery earlier in the week.
The game was tightly contested, with Memphis closing in on Cleveland in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. However, the Cavaliers pulled ahead with a 10-4 run in the last three minutes, bolstered by a strong defensive performance in the second half.
After allowing the Grizzlies to stay close, Cleveland managed to limit them to 22 points in the third quarter and 21 in the fourth. Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff praised his team’s resilience, particularly noting the improved defensive play after halftime.
“I thought our guys did a good job just showing resolve,” Bickerstaff said. “Obviously, we were much better in the second half. Our defense is what makes us.”
Donovan Mitchell, freshly named an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference, acknowledged the team’s early errors, attributing some to the fatigue of playing back-to-back games.
For Memphis, Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 25 points, followed by Santi Aldama with 18 points and nine rebounds, and Vince Williams Jr. with 17 points. Despite a promising third quarter where Cleveland shot 61% from the field, the game remained within reach for Memphis until the final minutes. LeVert’s dunk and Strus’s three-pointer in the closing moments sealed the win for Cleveland.
Reflecting on the game’s outcome, Jackson highlighted the need for Memphis to improve its late-game performance, suggesting the recent pattern might be more about opponents’ star players stepping up than the Grizzlies’ shortcomings.
“I think it is just a coincidence,” Jackson said of the lack of scoring down the stretch. “A lot of (opponents’) stars and great players get going late. We’ve got to make sure we take care of their tendencies. It’s definitely tough when you are up late and let the game slip away.”
Looking ahead, the Cavaliers will face the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, while the Grizzlies will host the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.