CLEVELAND (AP)Donovan Mitchell opened his postgame news conference with an apology.
He made his Cleveland home debut harder than needed.
”I made us stay 35 or 45 minutes longer than we should have,” Mitchell said. ”That was insane. But we got the win.”
Mitchell scored 37 points and atoned for two turnovers in the final minute of regulation with two big plays in overtime, leading the Cavaliers to a 117-107 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.
Mitchell had a three-point play and steal in the final 1:43 of OT as the Cavs thrilled a sellout crowd that got its first look at the three-time All-Star since he came over from Utah in a blockbuster offseason trade.
Mitchell, who played 45 minutes, has eclipsed 30 points in all three games with Cleveland.
Cedi Osman also had a three-point play in the extra session and finished with 16 points for Cleveland, which blew a seven-point lead in the last 47 seconds of regulation when Mitchell got sloppy with the ball.
Jarrett Allen had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavs.
Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Kristaps Porzingis 18 for the Wizards, who stayed close in the fourth and forced overtime when Mitchell melted down.
Cleveland was up 103-96 when Mitchell missed a short floater in the lane and had two costly turnovers.
On the first, Mitchell tried to dribble between his legs and got picked by Beal, who was then fouled going for a layup. Before Beal made both free throws, Mitchell slammed his hand on the padded scorer’s table in frustration.
Seconds later, Will Barton poked the ball away from Mitchell and went in for a dunk to tie it.
”I’m more poised than that,” Mitchell said. ”That shouldn’t happen. We should have been home an hour ago. That’s where my head is at. We’ll take the win, but I promise you for the next day and a half all I’m going to be thinking about is finding ways to execute late game and being the best for my team.
”And I wasn’t. I’m better than that and I will be better than that. It’s better to learn these in a win than a loss.”
Cleveland had one last chance in regulation, but Mitchell’s 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left was long.
Mitchell then showed why Cleveland traded for him early in OT, powering to the basket and scoring over Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma while getting fouled. His three-point play made it 108-106, and on Washington’s next possession, his steal led to Osman’s bucket.
After fighting back, the Wizards fell apart in the extra five minutes.
”Four turnovers and four points in OT, it’s really tough to win that way,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. ”There were quite a few good moments, but turnovers were big and so were offensive rebounds.”
Cavaliers center Robin Lopez had the game’s most improbable bucket.
While falling backward in the lane, the frizzy-haired, fun-loving Lopez flipped the ball blindly over his head and in before landing on his backside.
”That was awesome,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. ”Certain people do certain things and only certain things happen to certain people.”
The Cavaliers were again without All-Star guard Darius Garland, who missed his second straight game with a left eye laceration sustained in the season opener at Toronto.
The 22-year-old wore dark sunglasses while watching from the bench. He still has swelling that needs to go down before he’s cleared to play.
Garland was accidentally poked in the eye by Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr., who was going for a steal.
Wizards: G Corey Kispert (sprained left ankle) is traveling with the team and took part in shootaround. Kispert got hurt during the team’s recent trip to Japan. He’s expected to miss at least the season’s first month.
Cavaliers: With Garland out, Mitchell moved to the point and Isaac Okoro started. But Okoro was pulled early for Osman, who made an immediate impact by scoring 10 in the first quarter. … Bickerstaff was whistled for a technical foul just four minutes in. … Guardians manager Terry Francona sat courtside and got a huge ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard during a timeout.
Wizards: Host Detroit on Tuesday.
Cavaliers: Host Orlando on Wednesday.
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