Donovan Mitchell injured but Darius Garland leads Cavaliers past Pelicans

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, right, drives into New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado (15) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland. (TBEN Photo/Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND — Darius Garland scored 30 points, Jarrett Allen added 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter with star Donovan Mitchell injured on the bench to beat the weary New Orleans Pelicans 113-103 on Monday.

Mitchell scored 11 points in 22 minutes before pulling out the fourth with a strained left groin.

The Cavs trailed 81-78 going into the final 12 minutes before Garland made a 3-pointer and fed Allen for a dunk as Cleveland blitzed New Orleans 16-2 to start the period and extend an 11-point lead. to open.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell cheers from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell cheers from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland. (TBEN Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Pelicans were still within striking distance as Garland dropped a pair of threes in the final two minutes to put them away. Garland scored 25 and added eight of his 11 assists in the second half.

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Evan Mobley added 19 points as Cleveland improved to 19-4 at home.

The Pelicans were once again without stars Zion Williamson (sprained hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (bruised toe) due to injuries. New Orleans has managed to stay competitive despite missing 46 points per game from those two.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland. (TBEN Photo/Ron Schwane)

CJ McCollum scored 25 and Jonas Valanciunas had 22 and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans, who went 2-3 on a five-game, ten-day journey.

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McCollum has had to shoulder the scoring burden with Williamson and Ingram. He had just four points at the half before scoring 14 in the third quarter to help the Pelicans take a lead going into the fourth.

That’s when the Cavs pulled back on the defensive and Garland got to work.

Mitchell started slow before coming for himself late in the first half, scoring nine points and making a last-second three-pointer to bring the Cavs within 50–47 at halftime.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio (13) shoots against New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio (13) shoots against New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland. (TBEN Photo/Ron Schwane)

Minute by minute

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While the return of guard Ricky Rubio from knee surgery is a big positive for the Cavs, it also presents some challenges for coach JB Bickerstaff, who must balance playing time for him at the expense of other reserves.

He’s tinkering with rotation combinations, and that could mean someone’s going to lose minutes.

“Sometimes it is frustrating. All the guys want to play and they’ve proven they can,” he said. “But sometimes they just can’t.”

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen plays against New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen plays against New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, January 16, 2023, in Cleveland. (TBEN Photo/Ron Schwane)

Tip-ins

Pelicans: Williamson has missed the past seven games and the team has not given a firm timetable for his return due to the unpredictable nature of his injury. …Ingram has only played in 15 games after missing 27 last season. … G/F Herb Jones (lower back bruise) missed his third game in a row.

Cavaliers: Rubio played 17 minutes in his first home game in 386 days. … F. Kevin Love, whose name will no doubt pop up in upcoming trade speculation due to his expiring contract, is in a prolonged downturn. He went 0 of 4 on 3-pointers and is 3 of 21 from long range in his past six games. … F Dean Wade (sprained shoulder) was about to return after missing more than a month, but recently rolled his ankle when he stepped on someone’s foot during a 1-on-1 exercise in rehab.

Next one

Pelicans: Host Miami on Wednesdays.

Cavaliers: Wednesday in Memphis.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen lead Cavaliers over Pelicans

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