Donovan Mitchell will head back to where his NBA career all started on Tuesday night. The Cavs will play the Jazz which is the third game of their five-city road trip. However, the majority of the coverge on Tuesday will definitely go to Cleveland’s shooting guard.
Mitchell spent his first five seasons in the NBA as a member of the Jazz and established himself as one of, if not the best, shooting guard in the NBA at that time. He averaged 23.9 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds as a member of the Jazz organization.
He also led them to the playoffs each of those five seasons which included two trips to the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
But now he’s entering the arena as the opposition. It’s hard to imagine that the Jazz fans will treat him negatively considering all he did for their city for half a decade.
This isn’t the first time these two teams have met since the trade went down. They faced off at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse back on December 19 which ended in a Cleveland win. Mitchell scored 23 points in that game.
It’ll be hard for Mitchell to not get the majority of the attention in the game but if Cleveland wants to win they can’t forget about the main piece they sent over in that trade, that’s Lauri Markkanen.
Markkanen was a very solid player with the Cavaliers but has turned into a true All-Star with the Jazz. He’s currently averaging 24.5 points per game while shooting .529 from the field.
The seven-foot small forward also presents quite the mismatch with his length for a Cleveland team that routinely uses undersized players at the three.
If Cleveland wants to win back-to-back games on the road they’ll need to figure out how to stop Lauri.
This is still a very winnable game for the Cavs even with it being on the road and all the emotion that comes with Mitchell’s return. The Jazz got off to a hot start winning 10 of their first 15 games. But they have come down to earth since then and sit at 20-23 on the season and have lost seven of their last eight games.
Cleveland needs to find a balance of acknowledging Mitchell’s return while also taking advantage of this struggling Utah team and pushing themselves back up into the race for the one seed in the Eastern Conference.
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