Dribbles: Cavs Again Offer Up Hoops Symphony, Silence Jazz

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 111-91 hammer job of the host Jazz on Wednesday.

1. Lamar Stevens is the best player in Cavs history.

2. Yes, that’s a joke. But hey, the Cavs are having fun. Why shouldn’t the rest of us?Lamar Stevens

3. Stevens did score the first 13 points of the third quarter, finishing with a career-high 23 for the game. On this team, no one probably saw that coming. And that one is no joke.

4. The Cavs (24-18) put on a total clinic on both ends. Lots of dunks, a couple of massive blocked shots from Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, and just an all-around great night against the third best team in the West.

5. Oh, and Darius Garland finished with a triple-double — 11 points, a career-high 15 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the first of his career.

6. Garland to Serena Winters of Bally Sports: “I’m just playing basketball.”

7. That basically covers what these Cavs have done all season. They are 3-1 on their longest trip of the year with two to go. They are just playing ball, man.

8. Lauri Markkanen also had one of his better nights with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. That includes 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. Kevin Love added 16 points off the bench. Mobley had 15 points and 10 boards. Jarrett Allen scored 12. As usual, it was a teamwide effort in the truest sense.

9. More Garland to Winters: “We got a lot of stops, got out in transition, got our bigs going.” That’s been the story of the season in just about every Cavs victory. Everyone gets involved.

10. The Cavs were particularly good in the third quarter. Yes, it was more than just Stevens — though, again, he was pretty amazing. But Cleveland outscored Utah 30-16 in the third, when the Jazz shot just 22 percent from the floor.

11. Translation: As cohesive as the Cavs have been offensively, the defense is generally the reason they have given themselves a chance in most every game. Sometimes, it leads to routes on the road like this.

12. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff on the win: “We talked about playing with purpose, playing with discipline. I thought (we) did that tonight.”

13. It’s these type of performances that led to a contract extension for Bickerstaff earlier this season, and general manager Koby Altman earlier this week. Excuse me, Altman is actually now the president of basketball operations, the new title that came with his extended deal.

14. A year ago, we wondered if Bickerstaff and Altman would still be with the franchise at this point. A year ago, that was fair to wonder. But they sure have shut up everyone now. The players and the plan have come together sooner than perhaps even they expected.

15. Garland joins Kyrie Irving as the only Cavs other than LeBron James to compile a triple-double since James’ rookie season (2003-04). LeBron had 63 while with the Cavs.

16. Old friend Jordan Clarkson led the short-handed Jazz (28-14) with 22 points. Donovan Mitchell added 17. Denzel Valentine, recently traded by the Cavs in the deal for Rajon Rondo, scored five.

17. Rondo missed the game with a hamstring injury. His status will be updated ahead of the Cavs’ next game, Friday on the road vs. the Spurs.

18. For more on pro hoops in Cleveland, visit the Hoops Wire Cavs page.

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