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Apr 10, 2024 8:32 am

Cavs look to bounce back from tough loss in clash vs. Grizzlies

Cleveland Cavaliers

After returning from a disappointing five-game Western trip, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to regroup at home in a matchup against the injury-plagued Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

Cleveland (46-33) holds the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining in the regular season. The Cavaliers will face an undermanned Memphis team that lost 102-87 to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

Cleveland ended a 1-4 trip with a stunning 120-118 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. The Cavaliers led by as many as 26 points before Paul George scored 23 in the fourth quarter to lead the Clippers’ comeback.

“I’m not going to say that we’re down, but this one hurt,” guard Darius Garland said after the Cavs’ third straight loss. “But we’ll move on to the next one. A few more games left here in the season, so we’ve got to up our intensity and up our focus so we can win these next three and move forward to the postseason.

The Cavaliers had six players score in double figures against the Clippers, including Garland (28), Max Strus and Evan Mobley (20 points apiece) and Caris LeVert (18). Cleveland led 80-59 at intermission before shooting 32.5 percent from the field in the second half.

“I thought we were still doing the right things,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We were sharing the ball, we were getting to our spots, we just went kind of cold in the second half. We were doing all the right things — just couldn’t get the ball to go for us.”

The Cavaliers are monitoring the status of All-Star Donovan Mitchell, who sat out Sunday’s contest due to knee injury management. Mitchell practiced Tuesday and is expected to play against Memphis.

Mobley is averaging 18.7 points on 61.4 percent shooting over his last six games for Cleveland, which beat the Grizzlies 108-101 in Memphis on Feb. 1.

The Grizzlies (27-52) used their 50th different starting lineup in Tuesday’s loss to San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 20 points.

“We didn’t get the ball to bounce our way tonight,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We were just kind of out of sorts throughout the game … new guys, playing different lineups and all that stuff.”

As they have for most of the season, the Grizzlies played without multiple injured players. The team’s lengthy injured list includes Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart, Ja Morant, Ziaire Williams and Derrick Rose.

Jordan Goodwin had a career-best 19 rebounds to go with 10 points in Tuesday’s loss, while Brandon Clarke, Scotty Pippen Jr. and Trey Jemison each added 14 points.

Jenkins continues to be pleased by the development of young players such as Pippen and Jemison, who have capitalized on their opportunities in recent weeks.

Pippen has averaged 18.0 points, 5.7 assists and 3.3 steals in his last three games.

“It’s good to see him get the performances he’s had lately,” Jenkins said before talking about Pippen’s best attributes. “No. 1 is his competitiveness. It’s what makes it easy for me to fall in love with a guy. I love that he’s been growing his play-making ability. The tenacity he plays with on the defensive side, sticking his nose in on the ball, roughing it up at times … really impressed with his effort.”

–Field Level Media

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