CLEVELAND — Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 107-101 win over the Magic on Monday.
1. This was the type of game the Cavs needed. All they needed was a win. Who cares that the Magic stink?
2. Bottom line: The Cavs got down and grinded one out. The game got ugly, which is when the Cavs were at their best. They just took care of business. Sadly, given everything they’ve been through with injuries and the resulting changes in the rotation, they may have to finish the season by trying to win this way.
3. Darius Garland to Bally Sports Ohio: “Everybody battled. … Just gotta stay with it. Shows our heart, shows we always compete, no matter who’s playing.”
4. Now for the not-so-great news. As relayed earlier, Evan Mobley suffered a sprained ankle in the second quarter and never returned. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, X-rays on the injury came back negative. Right now, that’s all we know.
5. Without Mobley and the injured Jarrett Allen, who knows what awaits the Cavs? They are coming up on a stretch of four games in five nights.
6. But hey, they’ve proven they can compete with anybody when they come out and play some grit. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff is sure to remind them of that.
7. Bickerstaff on the win: “They have continued to stick together, fight for one another. The injuries can be staggering at times. … But again, the figured it out.”
8. Garland was again fantastic, leading the way with 25 points and 12 assists. He has now scored 20 or more points in 12 of the 14 games in March.
9. There were a few scary moments involving Lauri Markkanen, who had to leave the game after bumping knees with a Magic player. But he returned to finish the job, ending the night with an important 20 points.
10. Kevin Love added 19 points, including 14 in the first half. Or how about Isaac Okoro (11 points), Dylan Windler and Lamar Stevens? All offered energy and intangibles, with Windler grabbing a season-high nine rebounds in just 16 minutes.
12. And let’s not forget Moses Brown, using his 7-foot-2 frame to alter some shots, run the court and providing a big body when desperately needed.
11. Love on the win: “We made plays when we needed to, got stops when we needed to. It was not a pretty game, but sometimes you have to win ugly, and that’s what happened tonight.”
12. There were moments of not-so-ugly, of course. The Cavs (42-33) did manage a 17-0 run in the second quarter. On the odd side, Cedi Osman did not play again. Considering the injuries, it makes you wonder why. But no sense nitpicking after a win.
13. Of course, the Raptors held on to beat the vastly undermanned Celtics in overtime on Monday. So they remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and the Cavs remain in seventh. Seeds 7-10 get the play-in tournament. Yuck.
14. Nonetheless, the Cavs remain in charge of what happens from here on out. Hopefully for their sake, the future will soon include Allen and Mobley.
15. Seven players reached double figures in scoring for the Magic (20-56), led by Wendell Carter Jr.’s 15 points.