NBA: Darius Garland again helps Cavaliers beat Thunder | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Darius Garland again helps Cavaliers beat Thunder

/ 12:19 PM January 23, 2022
Garland Cavaliers

Isaac Okoro #35 and Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after Okoro scored during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 22, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Darius Garland had 23 points and 11 assists to lead the host Cleveland Cavaliers to a 94-87 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Garland has finished with at least 20 points and 10 assists in four straight games.

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Rookie Evan Mobley added 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds as Cleveland won for the sixth time in seven games. Jarrett Allen contributed 14 points and 13 rebounds.

The Thunder lost their fifth straight game and their 12th in their last 14.

The last time these teams met, Jan. 15 in Oklahoma City, Garland came up with big play after big play down the stretch to lift the Cavaliers to the win despite never leading until the fourth quarter.

This time, Garland took over in the third quarter, with 13 points and three assists.

All of Garland’s third-quarter points came during a stretch that lasted a bit more than five minutes as Cleveland’s lead swelled from two at halftime to as much as 17 late in the third.

The Cavaliers could’ve stretched the lead further, but missed eight of their 13 free throws in the quarter with seven turnovers to help the Thunder remain within striking distance.

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Cleveland shot a season-low 51.4 percent from the free-throw line and just 22.2 percent (6 of 27) from behind the 3-point line, its second-worst percentage of the season.

With about seven minutes remaining, Oklahoma City’s Luguentz Dort was ejected after elbowing Cleveland’s Kevin Love after the whistle as they were among a group wrestling for the ball after Dort lost the handle.

With just less than four minutes left in the first half, Cleveland’s Lauri Markkanen went down with a sprained right ankle as he landed after trying to cut off Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s layup, Markkanen had to be helped to the locker room by teammates and did not return.

After trailing by 10 with two minutes remaining before halftime, the Thunder ended the second quarter with eight consecutive points to cut the deficit to two, 47-45, by the break.

The Cavaliers missed their final five shots of the half.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished the night with 29 points to lead the Thunder. No other Oklahoma City player scored more than 12.

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