Darius Garland Sounds Off on Donovan Mitchell’s Record-Setting Night Against Pacers

Darius Garland Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Not only was Sunday night’s Cleveland Cavaliers victory exciting for its status as a come-from-behind thriller; the game will live long in the history books for Donovan Mitchell‘s individual heroics.

On Sunday, Mitchell set two new Cavaliers records. First, Mitchell leapfrogged LeBron James for the most 40-point games in a single season in Cleveland at 12. Second, Mitchell became the first Cavalier to manage three-straight games scoring 40 or more points.

After the game, Mitchell’s backcourt teammate Darius Garland marveled at the accomplishment.

“That’s what Don does,” Garland said, per cleveland.com. “He’s elite. All-NBA player. An MVP candidate. What else can you ask for from a guy like that?”

It’s been a successful first season in Cleveland for Mitchell. The All-Star guard is in the conversation for a first-team All-NBA honor this year.

“It’s legendary,” Garland continued. “It’s a bucket. It just shows the work that he puts in and the ability to go out and do it at a high level for a stretch like that. I’m super proud of him. I want him to be more aggressive, want him to get to 40-and 50-balls, whatever it takes to win the game.”

Mitchell spent some time after the game praising Garland, as well.

Donovan Mitchell Praises Darius Garland After Beating Pacers

Mitchell isn’t the only one playing for end-of-season honors. Garland is up for the league’s Teammate of the Year award, something Mitchell advocated for after defeating the Pacers on Sunday.

“His energy,” Mitchell pointed out of Garland, per the Cavaliers’ official YouTube channel. “You know, good day, bad day, he’s always there. I think he has the pulse of the group. He has everybody’s ear and that’s, at a young age to have everyone’s ear, that’s something that speaks a lot about his character. I think that’s one of the first things that I noticed about him, he’s so poised for his age, and even while he’s still learning, he’s still able to be coachable and coach as well, be able to teach. He’s a guy you look at he’s always standing up on the bench cheering for guys, always giving his two cents. Things are going well, things are going not well, he’s always the same guy, same teammate for us.”

The Teammate of the Year award is one of the more under-the-radar end-of-season honors. But it has no shortage of star power in its history. Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan both won the award during their careers, as has Trailblazers stud Damian Lillard.

Donovan Mitchell Praises Evan Mobley’s Defense

The final Cavaliers starter eyeing a potential end-of-year award is Evan Mobley. Though he’s a distant fifth in odds of winning the Defensive Player of the Year award, it hasn’t stopped Mobley’s teammates from hyping up his case.

“We’re the No. 1 defense,” Donovan Mitchell boasted when asked to put together Evan Mobley’s argument for Defensive Player of the Year, per cleveland.com. “Guards 1-5. Doesn’t get into foul trouble. Switching late in games. He is communicating. He’s blocking shots and running out in transition. He should be Defensive Player of the Year. I’ve played with a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, so I know what it looks like. Seeing it with him for sure.”

While this year may not be Mobley’s to win, he’ll likely be in line for plenty of hardware in the trophy case. In just his second season, Mobley is already tops in the NBA in defensive win-shares.