CLEVELAND — The first act of teamwork from the Cavaliers’ new backcourt duo of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland came four days before training camp.
Mitchell and Garland served as Dawg Pound captains for Thursday’s night’s nationally televised game between the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The duo followed the lead of last week’s captain, legendary Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, who smashed a Jets-logoed guitar as part of the pregame festivities. After the coin toss, Mitchell did the honors with a Steelers-themed guitar as Garland cheered him on.
Mitchell, a three-time All-Star, was acquired in a blockbuster Sept. 1 trade with the Utah Jazz. His arrival is expected to make the Cavs contenders in the Eastern Conference as he teams with point guard Garland and center Jarrett Allen, both first-time All-Stars last season, and center/forward Evan Mobley, runner-up in NBA rookie of the year voting.
New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, a GlenOak graduate, was also at the Browns-Steelers game. During NBA All-Star weekend in Cleveland in February, McCollum marveled at Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, who had three dunks in the All-Star Celebrity game.
“He’s a one-of-a-kind athlete,” McCollum said of Garrett then. “It’s crazy to see someone that strong, that big, that moves the way he does. Unbelievable.”
The Cavs will hold media day Monday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The preseason opener is set for Oct. 5 at Philadelphia, with the regular-season opener Oct. 19 at Toronto. The Cavs start the home schedule Oct. 23 against the Washington Wizards.