Donovan Mitchell makes up for blunders late in the game and leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 117-107 overtime win in the opener at home

Cleveland, Ohio – Six months. This is how long it has been since Cleveland Cavaliers A meaningful game is played inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It was worth the wait.

suspense. drama. drunk. frustration. cheerful. Sunday’s match had it all. It was both exciting and confusing. When it finally came to an end, the Cleveland FC secured a tough overtime win 117-107 against the Washington Wizards.

For the second game in a row, the Cavs suffered another quiet start before settling down. Maybe it was heavy legs, playing the second night from noon to noon after changing the time zone. It could be a bit of both.

Whatever the reason, the start was hardly anyone wanted, especially CAFs coach JB Bickerstaff, who made a frustrating technical foul in less than four minutes into the game.

Cleveland lost 8-0 after just two minutes. They were under double digits at the 7:40 mark for the first quarter. But just as it had happened one night before in Chicago, the young Caves followed their new leader – Donovan Mitchell, who redeemed himself after two fatal mistakes late in the game that nearly spoiled Mitchell’s illustrious home debut.

“I’m more prepared than that,” Mitchell said. “We should have been home an hour ago. This is where my head really is. We will win, but I promise you the next day and a half, all I will think about is finding ways to carry out the late game and be the best for my team and I haven’t thought. I’m better than that and I’m going to be better than that.”

In the final forty seconds, Mitchell flipped the ball twice, both of which led to the Wizards’ buckets and tied the game at 103. Mad by the lack of a foul call on a previous float and himself by uncharacteristic neglect, Mitchell hit him desperately. Padded scorer table.

Then he had a chance at salvation.

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With 25.9 seconds left, Bickerstaff called the regrouping timeout. He designed a play for his star player. Mitchell drove to his right, shook the defender, created a break, slipped behind the three-point line and fired a potentially game-winning shot.

The selling crowd is on its feet waiting for the outbreak. Mitchell holds the release aloft. His first signature moment as a knight spins through the air as the cameras flash.

clank.

Mitchell bounced off the back of the ledge and rang the bell as the two teams battled for the loose ball.

It was the moment Mitchell needed to wait. Just not all this time. Mitchell came in — and Cavs — through OT.

Lagging 106-105 with almost two minutes to go, Mitchell made a fierce drive to the basket in time and -1 that gave Cleveland a two-point advantage.

On the next possession, Mitchell intercepted Bradley Bell’s ill-advised pass and set off a fast break that ended up turning Cedi Osman into a reverse pass while taking a foul. Just like that, the Cavs fell back from the ring, up by five. They never looked back, outpacing Washington 14-4 during those extra five minutes.

“He just got a belief. He has confidence in himself. And we believe in him, he knows it,” Bickerstaff said of Mitchell. “He’s done it before. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t want to let his teammates down. He took it upon himself to achieve something. This also gives them faith. He makes them feel that they can beat the odds because they know he is there to help carry them, take them through adversity, and take them through tough times. Our group has always been a flexible group. They’ve always been a group that stuck together, the good times, the bad times, and they made their way through things and that adds to it.”

Mitchell scored the highest level in the game 37 points. He became the third player in NBA history to score 30 or more points in each of his first three games with any team, joining Glenn Robinson (2002-2003 with the Atlanta Hawks) and Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60 with the Warriors). Mitchell also scored a franchise record with three consecutive games of at least 30 points to start the season. His total score through the first three is the most of any Cavalier, surpassing franchise legend Austin Carr.

Five other players hit double digits – Usman (16 points), Garrett Allen (15), Dean Wade (12), Karis Levert (10) and Evan Mobley (10).

As Mitchell scored the free-throw streak late in overtime, in an effort to win, best player chants echoed throughout the ring, replacing the shots that had prevailed just minutes earlier as Mitchell missed the ball away twice. What an unforgettable home appearance for Cleveland’s newest superstar.

From champion to goat and then champion again. Welcome to Cleveland.

getting better

All-Star goalkeeper Darius Garland, who missed his second game in a row with an injury to his left eye, was on the field Sunday night. Wearing a white hoodie and black sunglasses for protection, Garland was introduced on the video board during pre-game festivities.

When the match started, he was sitting on the bench alongside his teammates. Before the game, coach JB Bickerstaff said Garland “was doing better”.

“There is swelling, so you have to wait for the swelling to go away,” Bickerstaff said. “When you open his eyes, he can see. This is obviously a good thing. But it will take some time and we will just have to wait and see how this swelling resolves on its own.”

special visitor

Caves president Dan Gilbert exited the tunnel near the start of the second half and then took his seat on the field, watching the final two quarters — and the OT — among the sponsors.

next one

The Cavs will have a few days off before hosting the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set at 7 p.m.

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