Cleveland, Ohio – Evan Mobley looks ready for the regular season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ promising young striker, who missed the top three opponents due to a sprained ankle, had to wait nearly two weeks before the start of the long-awaited season. But Mobley offered a sneak peek at why the excitement surrounding the sophomore season couldn’t be contained.
Cleveland lost to the Orlando Magic on Friday night, 114-108. Cleveland finished 1-3 pre-season.
Friday night wasn’t about it. It was about Mobley. A chance to test his ankle, brush off any potential rust and get in the competitive juices ahead of Wednesday night’s regular season opener in Toronto. Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff wasted no time in bringing in Mobley, calling the first play of the game as a cornerstone of the franchise. This possession ended with Mobley moving to the free throw line and scoring his first point of the night.
Mobley moves well on a healed ankle and appears stronger and more aggressive after the summer in the weight room, repeatedly reaching out and displacing defenders and making his way to the bar (eight attempts).
Last season’s runner-up, and last season’s runner-up, finished eight points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 17 minutes. Mobley did not play in the second half.
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“You can see the difference. Edge protection. He’s there for us, and he supports us. He bounces and pushes it himself.” Isaac Okoro boasted during a halftime interview. “Doing everything.”
Mobley was one of the few regulars who eventually played. The Cavs left seven players behind – Darius Garland (rest), Donovan Mitchell (rest), Garrett Allen (rest), Kevin Love (bruised left knee), Dean Wade (ankle), Dylan Wendler (ankle) and Ricky Rubio (rupture in the ankle) anterior cruciate ligament). recovery) – back in Cleveland. That freed up plenty of minutes for others, including the underused camp guys trying to secure 15th – and last – place on the list. The Cavs and other teams need to make initial roster cuts by 5 p.m. Saturday. Decision makers will meet tomorrow to discuss their options.
Friday was also the final test for the contending group to become a junior striker. Each candidate made a strong closing argument.
Isaac Okoro, who started for the second game in a row pre-season, earned 17 team-wide points in 6 of 7 shots and 1 of 1 from a 3-point range to go with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block and steals in 24 eyebrow-raising minutes. Okoro made his first six shots before coming off a mid-range jump in the third quarter.
Karis Levert, who got a well-deserved rest on Wednesday night, broke the stat sheet once again, finishing the game with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and three assists in 27 minutes.
Sidi Othman, who considered a long shot to win the main job, added 11 points and nine rebounds.
The pre-season has officially ended. Mobley had some running and there were no new injuries Friday night, which made him a successful performance despite the score. Now it’s time for the real thing – the upcoming regular season campaign is full of renewed hope and heightened expectations.
The Cavs will open their regular season on the road against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set at 7:30 p.m.
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