Lamar Stevens Midseason Update: Surprise Minutes and a Game-Winning Dunk
It’s been a while since we last talked about Penn State’s second all-time leading scorer.
Lamar Stevens had just signed a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in November with a small chance of making much of an impact. Today, Lamar Stevens is one of the first men coming off the Cavs bench, recording his first career game-winner on Tuesday.
To start out his rookie season, Stevens received a role that was expected as a two-way player: not much playing time, if any at all.
He received his first big break in just the fourth game of the season on the road against the Orlando Magic. Stevens received over 20 minutes in a game for the first time in his NBA career. He would make the most of it as he recorded his first double-digit game of his career with 10 points and six rebounds—both career highs to that point.
This marked the beginning of a stretch through the rest of January where Stevens would receive a good amount of minutes coming off the bench. While he wouldn’t hit those numbers for the rest of the month, Stevens had some well-balanced games in the short amount of minutes he played in. Against the now-top-seeded Jazz, he posted nine points and three rebounds in 23 minutes. Against the Knicks the next game, he tallied a career high in assists with four to go along with six points and five rebounds.
Stevens was getting into a rhythm, but the month of February would be brutal for his Cavaliers. Cleveland went on a nine-game losing streak, and during that stretch, Andre Drummond, who was at that point the team’s best player, was benched while the Cavs tried working out a trade. During the stretch, Stevens still received quality bench minutes. He even hit double-digit points again with 10 against the Trail Blazers.
That brings us to now. Lamar Stevens introduced himself to the world, as he found himself on the floor in the biggest moment of the game. With under a minute left, his Cavaliers trailing to the Hawks by one with a chance to end a long losing streak for his team, Stevens got the ball from former Alabama star Collin Sexton and found an open lane to hit the game-winning dunk with just 4.1 seconds to go. The Cavs won the game 112-111, and Lamar Stevens, the undrafted forward from Penn State, was the hero.
Stevens currently averages 4.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and one assist per game this season, but with changes to the Cavs roster likely to take place at the deadline, there’s a good chance those stats could be on the rise.
Where will he go from here? Who knows? But it’s safe to say that Lamar Stevens—after months of hard work to get to this point—has made his mark on the league.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism