NBA: Darius Garland returns, scores 27 to lead Cavaliers past Spurs | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Darius Garland returns, scores 27 to lead Cavaliers past Spurs

/ 11:34 AM February 10, 2022
Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers signals to his teammates during the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 09, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers signals to his teammates during the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 09, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP 

All-Star guard Darius Garland made a triumphant return to the lineup with a game-high 27 points in the host Cleveland Cavaliers’ 105-92 victory Wednesday over the San Antonio Spurs.

Garland had missed the previous four games with soreness in his lower back.

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Guard Caris LeVert, acquired Monday from the Indiana Pacers, made his Cavs’ debut and finished with 11 points in Cleveland’s seventh consecutive win at home and 13th of their last 15.

Forwards Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell paced the Spurs with 18 points and Derrick White added 17. All-Star Dejounte Murray worked hard for his 16 points.

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The Cavs started the third quarter on a 12-2 run to seemingly take control of the game. They led 69-50 after the third-quarter spurt. But San Antonio stormed back and trimmed a 23-point deficit to just 11 after three quarters, 84-73.

A jump hook in the lane by center Jakob Poeltl pulled the Spurs to seven points, 92-85, with 6:31 to play.

The Cavs prevailed, however, to sweep the two-game season series with San Antonio.

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After a four-game absence, Garland returned to the starting lineup in his first game since a loss in Detroit on Jan. 30. He was 12 of 15 from the field and added five rebounds and six assists. He paced the Cavs with 14 points and four assists in the first half, as the Cavs extended their lead to 57-48 at the break.

Garland was a bit rusty early on but picked up steam as the game wore on. The Cavs’ offense had sputtered at times without their point guard.

Cleveland’s big men were strong with center Jarrett Allen recording his 29th double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Rookie Evan Mobley added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Swingman Isaac Okoro had 14 points.

LeVert came off the bench for the Cavs. He entered the game with 6:37 left in the opening quarter to a rousing ovation from the home crowd. He got on the board with 5.6 seconds left on two free throws, which pulled Cleveland to a 30-29 deficit after the end of the first quarter.

LeVert finished with seven points in the first half.

The Cavs embarked on a 20-6 run, capped by Cedi Osman’s 3-pointer, to extend their lead to 41-34 with 6:42 remaining in the second quarter. Mobley had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half for the Cavs.

Cleveland took its first lead with 5:47 left in the first quarter, 17-16, on Okoro’s 3-pointer on an assist from LeVert. The Spurs came out sizzling in the first quarter and led by seven points, 28-21, on Collins’ layup with 2:31 to play.

Johnson had nine of his 16 first-half points in the first quarter for San Antonio.

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