Two games in one day.
An occurrence that happens sparingly during those times in elementary school, and, in some cases, at middle and high school tournaments.
Maybe, if ever, it’s taken place once or twice at the collegiate level. But as a professional? Now that is a rarity.
Three Cleveland Cavaliers—one of which is no longer with the team—were a part of such a scenario this past Saturday in the span of about six hours.
Then on a 10-day deal, Kobi Simmons was assigned to the club’s G-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, while Deng Adel and Jaron Blossomgame were already there due to their two-way contract status. The Charge hosted the Windy City Bulls at two o’clock in the afternoon, and instead of playing at the Memorial Civic Center in Canton, the game took place at Quicken Loans Arena.
Already working on a story just hours beforehand as the Cavaliers were preparing to host the Dallas Mavericks, this writer stuck around to watch this unique situation unfold.
Aside from Mychal Mulder dropping 37 points on 14-of-16 shooting for the Bulls en route to a blowout win, there wasn’t much to write home about regarding the game. There was plenty to talk about regarding the doubleheader, though, and Blossomgame offered a unique look into a kind of day he hasn’t experienced since AAU basketball.
“I woke up at eight, had to be here at the Cavs shootaround this morning at the facility at 8:45,” Blossomgame told Basketball Insiders in between games.
“I did shootaround, put my clothes on, drove straight here, warmed up for the game here, just played and then now I’ve got about two hours until we meet as a team and stuff in Cleveland and we’re out there playing again.”
Blossomgame understood going into the weekend that he was going to be put in this position, so he took the proper measures to get ready for it. He cited pre-game rest, early hydration and mental preparation as ways to best to conserve energy ahead of the first contest.
After posting seven points and six rebounds in 26 minutes, he received some treatment and laid low. Luckily, Blossomgame, Simmons and Adel didn’t have to move a muscle as they awaited their second go-round at The Q—this time with the Cavaliers in the NBA.
“That’s a warrior there,” Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew said pre-game. “Any guy that has the ability to do that. To me, it takes a special athlete to do something like that.
“You’ve got to be a workhorse. You’ve got to be a warrior. Not only from a physical standpoint, but mentally, because that’s a huge challenge. I take my hat off to guys that are able to do that because that’s not easy to do.”
Blossomgame and Simmons saw under two minutes of floor time against Dallas. However, Adel had over 14 minutes of run and played in significant moments of the game. He’d been out there for 20 minutes with the Charge earlier in the day.
Adel is the most recent two-way contract signing for Cleveland following the release of Jalen Jones from his. Blossomgame has been under his deal since Dec. 2, meaning his time in the NBA this season is likely winding down as the terms restrict him to 45 days at that level.
Neither Blossomgame nor the organization feels comfortable disclosing exactly how many days he has left with the Cavaliers, but the rookie forward acknowledges that he’s close to being done.
So how are days actually counted towards that limit of 45? Games are obvious, and he’s played in 25 of those. Practices are included if the player is being coached and actively contributes to sessions and strategies. Still, Blossomgame told Basketball Insiders that he’s allowed to sit on the sidelines of a practice as long as there’s no coaching involved.
As the conclusion of his debut season begins to draw near, Blossomgame feels that he’s left it all out on the floor.
“I’ve done a good job,” Blossomgame confidently told Basketball Insiders. “Obviously being a rookie, this is my first year, had a lot to learn. But I made the most of my opportunity.
“I have some games out there where I’ve done some really good things. I’ve had some career-highs. I’ve had some double-doubles. So it’s been great for me, it’s been really good for me.”
When asked to name his favorite moment of year one, Blossomgame chose the night where he made a trio of threes and scored a career-best 15 points in Charlotte. As an alum of Clemson, friends from South Carolina made the trip up, as did his family from Atlanta.
Fortunately for Blossomgame, his commutes between Canton and Cleveland aren’t quite as long.
“I mean, some G-League teams have two-way players, like Sioux Falls and Miami, where you don’t have the luxury of being able to just drive 45 minutes away to the NBA team or back-and-forth, vice-versa,” Blossomgame told Basketball Insiders. “Just being able to drive back-and-forth, that’s pretty convenient for me.”
Blossomgame probably forgot to mention the teasing of fellow rookie Collin Sexton during the College Football Playoff national championship. Or maybe, he feels that the Alabama product has suffered enough.
All jokes aside, Blossomgame deserves every bit of praise coming his way. He’s worked extremely hard to get to this point, including battling a horrific leg injury and treks between the G-League and the pros.
Drew respects Blossomgame and developmental players for their daily grind.
“I know having to play down in Canton, the motivation is to get up on this level and to stay,” Drew said.
Knowing Adel is next in line to create his own memories, Blossomgame has given Adel sound advice using his own experiences.
“Deng’s a pretty mature guy. He understands what to do,” Blossomgame told Basketball Insiders. “When he first got here, yeah I kinda told him, ‘Make sure you’re taking care of your body. Make sure that you’re gonna stay on top of things.’
“It can get overwhelming at times. It can. But if you stay on top of things and just trust the process and come to work every day ready to work, you’ll be fine.”
Consider Blossomgame’s introduction to the NBA a smashing success.
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