Cavaliers hope to stay on track at home when Grizzlies visit

The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to bounce back from a rare home loss when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

Cleveland went 21-6 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and lost 100-97 to the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Evan Mobley led the league with 19 points, Donovan Mitchell with 16 points and Jarrett Allen with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The loss was frustrating for the Cavaliers, and inconsistent play remains a concern. The team finished his January with his 8-8 record.

Cleveland coach JB Bickerstaff said: “We’ve seen the epiphany of how to control the moment, but now it’s just a matter of how long you can sustain it?

“Playoff basketball comes down to every possession. Every possession matters. We have to be ready for that. ”

Mitchell is averaging 27.6 points and 39.1% of 3-point range, leading the Cavaliers who are allowing a league-low 106.8 points per game.

Cleveland is eager to avenge its 115-114 loss in Memphis on Jan. 18, when Grizzlies center Stephen Adams beat the game winner with 16 seconds remaining.

Memphis is playing its second consecutive home road game after Wednesday’s 122-112 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Ja Morant had 32 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds for Memphis. The Grizzlies struggled to hold off Portland star Damien Lillard (42 points) on Wednesday.

“(Portland) has found a way to hit open shots,” Memphis manager Taylor Jenkins said. “I thought our players competed. You have to put your hat on. Lillard is doing well right now and we were going the wrong way.”

Lillard struck out Morant, who came within one rebound after recording his third consecutive triple-double.

The game marked the debut of the season for Memphis winger Danny Green, who has been sidelined while recovering from left knee surgery. The 14-year veteran scored three points in 10 minutes against the Trail Blazers.

“It was nice to be out there and be with everyone,” Green said. “I’m trying to figure out some things offensively and defensively. Try to build chemistry.”

Memphis guard Desmond Bain returned to score 17 points after missing two games with a sore right knee.

With Adams (right knee) out for the next three to five weeks, the Grizzlies will give third-year pro Xavier Tillman Sr. additional playing time. The 6.8-foot forward is averaging 10.5 rebounds in his last two games.

Memphis could use another productive outing from Tillman against Cleveland’s formidable front line, which includes Mobley and Allen.

Mobley is averaging 19.6 points and 9.4 rebounds over his last eight games with the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are 31-22, but he hasn’t won two in a row since early January.

“We’re kind of at odds,” Mitchell said. “I don’t want it to make headlines. I want people to know the sky is not falling. We are in good shape. But to be a great team, we have to find that level of consistency.”

–Field level media

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