Cavs Dribbles: Ready or not, here come the Clippers (and Evan Mobley)

CLEVELAND — Random dribbles ahead of the Cavaliers’ lone home game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.Caris LeVert defends Paul George

1. Let’s start with the Cavs, who have nine of 10, capped by Friday’s big road win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

2. They did it all without power forward Evan Mobley (knee) and point guard Darius Garland (jaw). That much you already knew.

3. But did you know Mobley is expected to return on Monday? That’s a big boost — both for the inspiration he brings to the Cavs, and generally, for his play on the court. His return will come six weeks to the day of the arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

4. The Cavs (27-16) have done it lately with teamwork, ball movement, defense and a whole lot of center Jarrett Allen looking like a true blue All-Star. Allen has been a double-double machine without Mobley by his side, setting the franchise record with 14 straight (and counting). You can bet no one will be more relieved than Allen to have Mobly back in there to help down low.

5. Mobley was at shootaround as was star guard Donovan Mitchell, who is listed as probable to play after suffering some reported groin pain in the win over Milwaukee.

6. This is all good news for Cleveland, because the Clippers come to town as a title contender. All the focus is always on Los Angeles’ other team, which just happens to be very mediocre. But the Clippers are the LA team to fear.

7. The Clippers landed guard James Harden on Nov. 1, then proceeded to stink. Then coach Tyronn Lue decided to bring guard Russell Westbrook off the bench. It’s really come together since, and the Clippers (30-14) now sit in third place in the Western Conference.

8. They have won five straight and eight of 10. It’s also helped that star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have remained as healthy as they have in years. 

9. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves are having fine seasons, but I think one of two teams will emerge from the West — the defending champion Denver Nuggets, or the Clippers. While everyone is always focused on LeBron James and the Lakers, the Nuggets and Clippers (and a bunch of others) are just better.

10. Anyway, back to the Cavs. Just keep doing what you’re doing. That’s likely the message from coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Now, just do it with a young big man who has the potential to be great and is already pretty good.

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