NEW YORK -- Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell will make his return from a three-game absence on Tuesday night -- just in time for his final visit to famed Madison Square Garden this season.
Mitchell, who was listed as probable going into the contest after practicing fully Monday and then participating in Tuesday morning’s shootaround at MSG, has missed the last three games because of a strained left groin suffered in the second half of last Monday’s win over New Orleans.
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Sources say the Cavs will return to their five-man starting group from before Mitchell’s groin issue -- Mitchell, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Tuesday is Cleveland’s first stop on a three-game road trip.
While every appearance at MSG is meaningful for the New York native, Mitchell said Tuesday morning he is trying to treat the last regular season visit like any other game.
Earlier this year, in Mitchell’s first New York game following leaguewide speculation that he would be traded to the Knicks this offseason, the three-time All-Star struggled to control his emotions. He had one of his worst games, as the Cavs lost 92-81 on Dec. 4. Mitchell scored 23 points on 8 of 22 shooting that night.
“The first time back I saw family, I saw friends,” Mitchell said. “We have to win on the road. That’s the task at hand. We haven’t done a great job of that this season. Coming in here, doesn’t matter who we are playing, what we are doing, we have to come in and be ready to win on the road. Stick to your routine. Stick to what you’ve been doing. That’s the biggest thing for me. A lot of this, we learn different things throughout the course of the season, whether it’s different coverages on defense, different things on offense, off the floor things. You learn so many different things and just try to grow. So, I didn’t really talk or speak to nobody. Just kind of went about my routine like I always do. That’s the biggest thing.”
In 40 games this season, Mitchell is averaging career-highs in points (28.4), shooting percentage (48.4%) and 3-point percentage (39.5%) to go with 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
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