Groin injury, turnovers haunt Cavs’ Mitchell in loss to Knicks

NEW YORK – Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell was unsure of his status after his groin tightened in the final game of Cleveland’s 105-103 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night .

“It was the same as before,” said Mitchell, who had missed the previous three games with a tight groin. “I don’t know what comes next.”

Mitchell had tried to get into the paint and tie the game for the Cavaliers, but his shot was blocked by Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein for the second time in the final minute of the game. Then, after grabbing the rebound and sending it to forward Evan Mobley – who missed another potentially tying shot as New York took the win – Mitchell stayed on the court for an extended period. He later said he suffered not only from tightness in his groin, but also from cramps in both legs, which happened on that last ride.

He eventually got up and walked off the pitch under his own power, although he was visibly upset while doing so. Mitchell later admitted the frustration stemmed from both a combination of his poor play in the stretch – not only did Hartenstein block two of his shots, but RJ Barrett stripped him down on a drive in the final 90 seconds. – and to be uncertain of his health in the future.

“I felt good enough to come back, and for it to be the last five seconds of the game, it really pisses me off,” Mitchell said after finishing with 24 points on 9-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, eight assists decisive. and four interceptions in 38 minutes. “But I missed the game for the group, and that’s my fault. Poor execution on my part on the stretch. They made perfect plays, and I just didn’t execute them.

“It’s definitely both [frustration about the injury and his play]but more [the injury]. I pray that everything goes well.”

Mitchell’s status eclipsed what was a frenzied 48 minutes for both teams, as the Knicks – who had lost four straight – got back on track with a desperately needed victory after the game went to hell. -returns several times in the fourth quarter thanks to 36 points and 13 rebounds from Julius Randle. But, from his perspective, Mitchell said the loss was solely on his shoulders.

“I screwed that up,” Mitchell said. “Last possessions, I can cry over fouls all I want. I just need to be more ready for our group. I had a turnover on a lay-up, although I feel like I ‘ve been fouled, get it out, throw a play, get something. And then the second one where I made the airball layup, it’s on me. I dropped the team at the end of the game. We’ve played a very good game up to this point, all of us, and I haven’t done my job. And that’s on me.

His teammates, however, felt otherwise.

“I think it’s always the emotion that’s flowing,” Jarrett Allen said. “He said to himself, ‘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 up to 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 role to play. play in this game.”

The emotions of the night were only heightened by the fact that this was Mitchell’s second game at MSG since the Cavaliers landed him in a superb blockbuster contract in September after the Knicks and Utah Jazz had been talking about a possible trade for All-Star custody for months. . New York has now won both games.

Mitchell, however, was spectacular in his first season at Cleveland, averaging 28.3 points per game – good for 10th in the league – while shooting 48.1% from the field, 39.6% on a range of 3 points and 86.9% on the free. throwing line: all career highs. He’s likely to be voted into the All-Star Game as a first-time starter when the selections are announced Thursday night.

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