Scottie Barnes Issues Strong Statement on Mitchell & Garland After Cavs Win

Donovan Mitchell Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers guards Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors.

The Cleveland Cavaliers managed to right the ship on Sunday, securing a 118-93 blowout win over the Toronto Raptors at home. It was a much-needed victory following two-straight losses since the All-Star Break.

Cavs guards Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell dominated, finishing the affair off with a combined 53 points and 15 assists.

After the strong showing, reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes heaped praise on the All-Star backcourt.

“(Mitchell and Garland) hit really tough shots and they’re both really quick guards that can get to the rim and kick out and create shots for their teammates,” Barnes said of Mitchell and Garland, per Chris Fedor of “They also create their own shots.”

Last year, Barnes edged out Cavs stud Evan Mobley in Rookie of the Year voting. For much of the year, however, Mobley looked like a lock for the award as he averaged 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and showcased serious defensive skills. But a late injury to Mobley combined with Barnes’ own rise saw the former Florida State Seminole grab the award.

Neither player is having a stellar 2022 season, however. Mobley’s scoring and rebounding have remained stagnant, while his three-point shooting has largely failed to materialize. He’s still a defensive menace, but the sophomore leap many expected hasn’t come to fruition.

The same is true of Barnes; his scoring (15.5 points per game this season compared to 15.3 last year) and assists (7.0 this season compared to 7.5 last) suggest a lack of development in year two.

Not only has this season been a step back for Barnes, but it’s also been a major failure for the Raptors. After sneaking into the playoffs last season, the 30-32 Raptors sit just ninth in the East, only a game and a half from missing the play-in tournament entirely.

Nick Nurse Sounds Off on Donovan Mitchell

The Raptors’ praise of Mitchell wasn’t limited to the players. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse marveled at the Cavs’ lone All-Star, identifying what makes the All-Star “unique.”

“His balance and his strength are impressive,” Nurse said, per Chris Fedor of “It’s uncommon to see a guy do three directions in one move over and over. That’s what makes him unique.”

Against, the Raptors, Cleveland displayed a resiliency and intensity missing in their post-All-Star Break games to date. Nurse pointed that out as a serious difference maker between his team and the Cavs.

“They had us back on our heels on everything, transition, guarding the ball, screen and roll,” Nurse explained. “There was a big difference in energy and intensity. We were battling from the start.”

Ultimately, Cleveland is at their best when they play with their foot on the gas. Scoring 3.0 points per transition plays, the Cavs boast the league’s tenth-best transition offense.

Rubio Blasts Cavs’ Intensity

Playing with that level of intensity is something that’s eluded the Cavs for much of the season.

After an embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Hawks last week, Ricky Rubio put the Cavs on blast for their lack of effort, replying candidly when asked if the Cavs have demonstrated the right intensity following the All-Star Game.

“Not really,” Rubio told Chris Fedor of “We have to figure that out. We came out of the All-Star break and this is where you start turning it on for the playoffs. It’s something we have to figure out sooner than later.”

Fortunately, the Cavs showcased an ability to reach a different gear against the Raptors, putting Rubio’s concerns to bed, at least temporarily.

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