The Cavaliers, led by the power of the assist, cruise to a win to extend their current streak to nine
It was the frontcourt’s night to grab the spotlight with each Cavaliers’ big man, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, having an individual slight against Raptors forward Scottie Barnes. Mobley, for losing out on the Rookie of the Year award to Barnes back in 2022, and Allen losing an All-Star spot to Barnes this season.
It was clear from the tip that there was an edge to both players tonight as Mobley came out aggressive early by putting his shoulder into the chest of any Raptor that stood in between himself and the rim. Mobley has had a stretch of games as of late where you can sense a shift in his mentality offensively, finding himself less passive night-to-night.
Tonight was no different as Mobley finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. One of those shots included a three-point conversion where Barnes decided, in a game where the Cavaliers were cruising, it was a good time to try and disrespect Mobley (pssssst, it did not work).
Scottie Barnes waved off this Mobley shot— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) February 11, 2024
So Mobley Let 'Em Know pic.twitter.com/bZiimdDhHa
Allen led the team in both points (18) and rebounds (15) while shooting an efficient 9-12 from the floor. He found himself open many times in transition where, when watching, it went from ‘maybe a missed assignment’ to realizing that Allen was simply out-hustling the Raptors.
Well, that happened...
The theme of the night…assists.
The Cavaliers went into the game with an emphasis on the “I might have a shot, but you have a better shot” mentality. The Cavaliers for four straight quarters sliced up the Raptors led by Darius Garland (8 assists) and Max Strus (7). Even Donovan Mitchell (6) and Caris LeVert (5) were involved in the selflessness.
The theme of spreading the wealth has helped this dominant stretch of games but tonight’s scoring was truly the result of a pass-heavy playstyle.
Out of the 48 shot makes the Cavaliers had against the Raptors 36 of those conversions came off of assists. While not the benchmark for the team going forward, it’s always nice seeing this balanced amount of scoring come from a true team effort.
It’s hard for an opposing defense to try and stop a team when everyone on the floor is a threat offensively, not only to score but to also make sure to not let the mind wander as every player on the floor is actively looking to pursue the passing lanes.
The good times keep rolling on for the Cavaliers who are now on a nine-game win streak. This was one of their more dominant games during the stretch after having to execute late in their past few games.
With this win, the Cavaliers are now four and a half games away from the first-seeded Boston Celtics. They also are two games up on the Milwaukee Bucks who reside as the three seed.