Cavaliers go 2-1 to start off West Coast road trip


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Evan Mobley (left) led the Cavs to a 108-104 victory against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 2.

Ishan Kulkarni, Staff Writer

The Cleveland Cavaliers have taken basketball fans by surprise this season with their high level of play as new acquisitions and young talent continue to blossom. The same continued on the first week of their west coast road trip as Cleveland aimed to improve upon their 21-17 record. 

Their first stop was in Portland, Oregon against the Trail Blazers where the team won convincingly 114-101. This was the first game that newly acquired point guard Rajon Rondo played for the team following a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. This trade was made to shore up the point guard position following the injury to point guard Ricky Rubio, who was having a strong season while starting for injured point guard Collin Sexton.

The team had an all-around great performance with steady contributions from guard Darius Garland, who had 26 points and 6 assists, and center Jarrett Allen, who recorded 13 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Rondo was a strong plug off the bench as he scored 11 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. The Cavaliers’ defense did not allow anyone on the Blazers’ team to score more than 19 points and the team came out with a strong win to begin the road trip.

Their next opponent was the Golden State Warriors, one of the top teams in the Western Conference. This game was especially significant for the basketball world as it marked the season debut of Warriors star Klay Thompson, who had missed the past two seasons with an ACL tear and Achilles injury. This game proved to be a tough one as the Cavaliers played against an emotionally charged Warriors team. The Cavaliers were held to only 82 points with the highest scorer being Lamar Stevens, who racked up only 17 points. Garland struggled all night, going 3-12 from the field, and the team did not have enough defensively to stop Stephen Curry, who scored 28, and Klay Thompson, who scored 17. The final score was 96-82, with the Cavaliers losing their first game of the road trip.

The next game of their road trip was against a much weaker opponent than the Warriors: the Sacramento Kings. This game was a nail-biter, but the Cavaliers managed to hold on till the very end. Offensively, it was another all-around performance from the team as six players scored in the double digits, with two coming off the bench. Both big men Allen and Evan Mobley had 2 blocks and a steal each as they protected the rim. Kevin Love and Cedi Osman played strongly off the bench, scoring 18 and 15 points, respectively. The Kings also had a strong offensive performance as they had six players in the double digits and were led by Tyrese Haliburton, who scored 21 points. The Cavaliers managed to squeak by with a one-point 109-108 victory. 

After finishing off the second half of their road trip against the Utah Jazz, the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Cavaliers will return home to host the Brooklyn Nets.