CLEVELAND — Darius Garland scored 32 points shortly after being left off the All-Star team and carried Cleveland following Donovan Mitchell’s ejection, leading the Cavaliers to a 128-113 victory over the slumping Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.
Garland was one of several players having All-Star-caliber seasons not named an Eastern Conference reserve by the coaches. He added 11 assists as the Cavs bounced back from a tough loss to Miami on Tuesday night.
Mitchell, voted an All-Star starter last week, was tossed in the third quarter for throwing the ball at Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks after the pair tangled under the basket. Brooks also was thrown out.
With the Cavs leading 81-76, Brooks missed a shot and fell in the lane. While on the floor, he flung his arm back and struck Mitchell, who was standing over him, in the groin area. Mitchell dropped in pain and retaliated by firing the ball at Brooks and then charging and shoving him along the baseline in front of the Memphis bench.
As the altercation threatened to spill into the seats, officials and players were able to get things under control before any punches were thrown.
Mitchell, who was having a tough night with just six points on 2-of-11 shooting, received a loud ovation from the sellout Cleveland crowd as he made his way to the locker room following his dismissal.
The Mitchell-Brooks tussle seemed to motivate the young Cavs. They built a 12-point lead after three quarters, pushed it to 21 in the fourth and handed Memphis its seventh loss in eight games.
The Grizzlies, who have a reputation as the NBA’s most talkative team, lost their sixth straight road game.
Cedi Osman scored 21 points and Jarrett Allen added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland. Evan Mobley had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Desmond Bane scored 25 points and All-Star Ja Morant had 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Grizzlies despite being in foul trouble most of the night.
Memphis played without All-Star forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who sustained a thigh bruise in Tuesday night in a loss to Portland. Jackson averages 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds.
There were 10 lead changes in the first six minutes of the second quarter before the Cavs began to take control.
Cleveland went on a 13-2 spurt — and Morant went to the bench after picking up his third foul —- and the Cavs outscored the Grizzlies 22-7 over the final 5:25 to take a 67-54 halftime lead.