Cavs Notes: Officiating, Mitchell, Allen, LeVert, Wade, LeBron

The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics in the paint (42-38) in Monday’s Game 4 loss, but they were awarded just seven free throws on the night, compared to 24 for Boston. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, Cleveland’s players and head coach expressed their displeasure after the game with that discrepancy.

“We drive the ball … a lot,” Cavs guard Darius Garland said, emphasizing the last two words. “Seven free throws, two of those were techs, so five (free throws) in a 48-minute game, it’s tough. … I know how many times I get hit. I know many times my teammates get hit, put on the floor and we can’t reciprocate it. It’s tough.”

“I thought our guys deserved much better, the way that they were competing,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “They were attacking the paint. You know, they were getting after it the same (as Boston). We’re not asking for anything more, but we’re asking for equal. And I don’t think we got an equal opportunity at it tonight from that standpoint.”

The Game 4 loss puts the Cavaliers on the brink of elimination. They’ll face a 3-1 deficit as they travel back to Boston for Wednesday’s Game 5.

We have more out of Cleveland:

  • Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell, who was unavailable for Game 4 due to a left calf strain, admitted that his status for Game 5 is “very much in doubt,” writes Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The injury is affecting the same leg that has bothered Mitchell in recent months — he missed 16 games down the stretch as a result of tendinitis in his left knee, and he’s wary of returning sooner than he should and risking a more serious injury. “It’s not just the calf strain,” Mitchell told Fedor. “The calf can lead to an Achilles and then things get much worse.”
  • The Cavs’ issues extend beyond Mitchell. Within the same story, Fedor says that Jarrett Allen‘s return from a rib contusion “doesn’t feel close” and adds that Caris LeVert aggravated a knee issue on Monday that has been bothering him as of late.
  • Even Dean Wade, who has been able to suit up for the past two games following a lengthy absence due to a right knee injury, isn’t fully out of the woods. According to Fedor (subscription required), the possibility of offseason surgery hasn’t been ruled out for the Cavs forward. “There’s still concern,” said Wade, who declined to offer specific details on the diagnosis. “We’ll see what happens after the season. We had options and we took this option as the best path.”
  • Lakers star LeBron James, who was in attendance at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Monday’s Game 4, received a loud standing ovation from Cavs fans, as Vardon writes for The Athletic. In a separate story for The Athletic, Jason Lloyd – arguing that James’ public actions are always “calculated” – considers whether another return to Cleveland is a possibility for the four-time MVP before he retires. During a segment on ESPN’s Get Up, Brian Windhorst (YouTube link) also discussed James’ appearance in Cleveland.
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