Central Notes: Mitchell, Garland, Turner, Bayno

Despite dropping their season opener at Toronto on Wednesday, Donovan Mitchell was outstanding in his regular season debut with the Cavaliers, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Mitchell finished with 31 points (on 12 of 21 shooting), nine assists, two steals and was a team-high plus-10 in 35 minutes in the team’s 108-105 loss.

With backcourt mate Darius Garland sidelined due to a lacerated eyelid, Mitchell put his foot on the gas, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff says it’s nothing new for Mitchell to carry a heavy load.

He’s comfortable. I think it’s that easy,” Bickerstaff said. “This isn’t something he hasn’t done before. He’s carried teams on his back, so he understands the moment and he’s capable of it. It’s not new. It’s what we expect of him.”

In addition to his on-court production, Mitchell also provided leadership for the Cavs, giving them a positive message in the locker room after the game.

I told them that this is our first time as a group going against a really tough playoff team,” Mitchell said, per Fedor. “It’s good to win a game but when you have a lesson about fixing this and that, and only lose by three, it’s about finding ways to improve day by day and throughout the game. This was a really good test and I think we’re all pleased with how things went. Obviously pissed off that we couldn’t execute down the stretch. But it’s a game. It’s part of the learning the process.

The one thing about this group is we fought and competed. When one man goes down, the next guy is stepping up. That’s the road to being a really good team.”

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Bickerstaff said Garland’s left eye is swollen shut and he didn’t practice on Thursday, tweets Fedor. The Cavaliers are preparing like their All-Star point guard won’t play against the Bulls on Saturday but he hasn’t been officially ruled out yet, Fedor adds. Garland sustained the injury when he was accidentally poked in the eye by Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.
  • Sources tell Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic that Pacers center Myles Turner is expected to miss at least a week with his left ankle sprain. Turner says it’s a “typical ankle sprain” and it didn’t impact his foot (he missed the final 39 games last season with a stress reaction in his left foot), per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Turner also says he’s “hoping to be able to join the team on the (five-game) road trip,” which is in line with The Athletic’s report. If Turner returns by next Friday at Washington, he’ll have missed five total games with the injury.
  • Pistons assistant coach Bill Bayno underwent successful prostate cancer surgery on Tuesday and will be away from the team recovering for the next four-to-six weeks, Detroit announced. Bayno has been an assistant with the Blazers, Wolves, Raptors and Pacers in addition to the Pistons. 2022/23 will be his fifteenth season as an NBA assistant. The Hoops Rumors staff wishes Bayno well in his recovery.
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