NEW YORK – Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell was uncertain about his status moving forward after tightening his groin on the final play of Cleveland’s 105-103 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
“It felt like before,” said Mitchell, who had missed the previous three games with groin tightness. “I don’t know what comes next.”
Mitchell tried to drive into the paint and tie the game for the Cavaliers, but Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein blocked his shot for the second time in the final minute of the game. Then, after grabbing the rebound and kicking it out to forward Evan Mobley – who missed another possible game-tying shot as New York claimed the victory – Mitchell stayed down on the court for a long time. He later said that he was not only dealing with groin tightness, but also cramping in both legs, which all happened on the last drive.
He eventually got to his feet and walked off the court under his own power, although he was clearly upset as he did so. Later, Mitchell admitted the frustration came from a combination of his poor play down the stretch — not only did Hartenstein block two of his shots, but RJ Barrett picked him off on a drive inside the final 90 seconds — and not be sure of his. health going forward.
“I felt good enough to come back, and for that to be the last five seconds of the game really pisses me off,” Mitchell said after finishing with 24 points on 9-for-24 shooting to go as good with eight rebounds, eight assists. and four steals in 38 minutes. “But I fumbled the game away for the group, and that’s on me. Poor execution on my part down the stretch. They drew up perfect plays, and I just didn’t execute them.
“It’s definitely both [frustration about the injury and his play]but more than that [the injury]. I’m praying I’m okay.”
Mitchell’s status made for a frenetic 48 minutes for both teams, as the Knicks — who had lost four in a row — rallied for a much-needed win after going back and forth in the fourth quarter. thanks to 36. points and 13 rebounds from Julius Randle. But, from his vantage point, Mitchell said the loss was on his shoulders alone.
“I wrote that up,” Mitchell said. “The last possessions, I can cry about the foul calls all I want. I’ve just been more poised for our group. I had one turnover on a layup, although I think I was dirty, pull out. , run a play, get something And then the second one where I airballed the layup, that’s me. I let the team down at the end of the game We played a very good game up to that point, we on long, and I didn’t do my job. And that’s on me.”
However, his teammates felt otherwise.
“I think it’s the emotion still going around,” Jarrett Allen said. “He’s thinking, ‘What could I have done better? I should have done this, I should have done that.’ But we all should have done something. It’s not all on him, I’m not going to say he didn’t mess up, I’m not going to say I didn’t mess up. We all had a part in this game.”
It was Mitchell’s second game at MSG since the Cavaliers landed him in September after the Knicks and Utah Jazz talked about a possible trade for the All-Star guard for months. . New York has now won both games.
Mitchell, however, was spectacular in his first season in Cleveland, averaging 28.3 points per game – good for 10th in the league – while shooting 48.1% from the field, 39.6% from 3-point range and 86.9% from the free throw. free throw line – all career-highs. He will likely be voted into the All-Star Game as a starter for the first time when the selections are announced Thursday night.