With the Cleveland Cavaliers headed for the organization’s first playoff appearance since 2018, there’s an excitement buzzing on Euclid Avenue. Add in Donovan Mitchell‘s fantastic offensive performances lately and Evan Mobley’s under-the-radar Defensive Player of the Year possibilities to the list of reasons to be excited about the present and future of Cavaliers basketball.
But one player has been noticeably absent from the lineup lately: Isaac Okoro. The former Auburn Tiger has missed five straight games after straining his knee against the Houston Rockets on March 26.
According to head coach JB Bickerstaff, Okoro is rightly frustrated about not being on the floor for Cleveland.
“There is frustration and for all the right reasons,” Bickerstaff said after beating the Magic, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “You know Isaac and where his intent is and where his heart is, like all he wants to do is be on the floor, competing with his teammates. And he takes pride in his ability to be available. So it is frustrating for him. He keeps a pretty even spirit all the time. So he knows how to engage his teammates, keep it light, still show his support, but you know on the inside, it’s eating him up.”
Russo also reported that Okoro could play if necessary, but with the Cavs locked into the No. 4 seed in the East, there’s no reason to trot out the swingman and risk further injuries.
“We are trying to progress him, but we’ll see what happens and we’ve always got to do, again, what’s right by him,” Bickerstaff concluded.
With Okoro out, others like Caris LeVert, Cedi Osman, and Dean Wade have helped carry the load.
Danny Green Sounds Off on Big Night Against Magic
Include Danny Green among the bunch to see more playing time lately. With Mitchell and Darius Garland both given the night off against the Magic, it was on the Cavs’ rotation players to pull the weight on Thursday night.
And they succeeded. Green, a free-agent acquisition after his buyout from the Houston Rockets in February, had a particularly strong night, going for 21 points against Orlando.
“It was fun to have the roles reversed a little bit,” Green said, per cleveland.com. “Hopefully we get another one of those games on Sunday. We will see. It’s all up to them. Coach’s decision. They’ve earned their rest and right to be on the sideline cheering us on. It’s a lot of fun for all of us.”
Green tore his ACL 11 months ago and has been slowly returning to action with the Cavs over the last two months. But his showing provided some evidence that he can still contribute despite his recent injury history.
Danny Green Praises Isaiah Mobley After Magic Win
Equally important to Cleveland’s win was Isaiah Mobely, older brother to Evan Mobley (who was given the night off). Mobley finished with 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench.
“He was amazing tonight,” Green said Isaiah Mobley. “Took his time. Made some shots. Set some good screens. Rolled. Did some things we needed him to do. Nothing new for me to see. Seen it every day playing against him. I know how well he can play this game and he showcased it tonight.”
The Cavaliers take on the Charlotte Hornets in their regular season finale on Sunday.