Dribbles: Cavs Muck Out Win vs. Mavs, and That is Good Enough

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ grinder of a 100-99 overtime home win vs. the Mavericks on Saturday. …Darius Garland Kemba Walker

1. They can’t all be works of art. That’s basically the text I received from Cavs on the Break podcast co-host Jeremy in Akron when this thing finally ended. And man, he got that right.

2, The Cavs (20-11) trailed by eight entering the fourth quarter. For the second night in a row, they looked like they just didn’t have it. Then they won, anyway.

3. It’s safe to say the Cavs had some tired legs after Friday’s win over the Pacers. They probably weren’t real energized to face a Mavericks team that was missing star guard Luka Doncic, as well as guard Spencer Dinwiddie and center Dwight Powell, along with several others.

4. On a cold December Saturday night, it’s tough to get “up” for these games. But no one cares about any of that. All that matters is the standings. And the Cavs have 20 wins in 31 games. Not too shabby.

5. Donovan Mitchell again led the way with 25 points. Darius Garland added 18 and 12 assists. By the way, Garland also committed exactly zero turnovers. But he and Mitchell combined to go a miserable 2-of-15 on 3-pointers. See what I mean about tired legs?

6. Or how about this — the winning basket came with 2:01 left in the OT, when Jarrett Allen slammed home a lob from Garland. You read that right. Nobody scored in the final two minutes.

7. On the bright side, the Cavs were able to do the dirty work to gut it out. They have a tally in the win column. That’s all anyone will remember about this game (and all they probably will want to remember).

8. Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff to reporters: “It was a character win because we just didn’t have it tonight. But that wasn’t an excuse for the guys. They went out and picked it up defensively, which you’ve got to do when your shots aren’t falling.”

9. That defense starts and often ends with Allen and Evan Mobley, who scored 17 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Allen went for eight points, 15 rebounds and two big blocks. 

10. Mobley on the victory: “Nights like this, it’s all mental, so you’ve got to fight real deep and find that energy. We got the stops we needed at the end.”

11. Overall, the Cavs were 7-of-26 on threes and 13-of-22 on free throws. Yuck, yuck and double yuck.

12. Isaac Okoro gave a solid showing with 10 points and six boards starting in place of the injured Lamar Stevens (knee). Hey, on a night like this, 10 points are a big deal.

13. Meanwhile, veteran guard Kemba Walker had quite a coming-out party as a member of the Mavs (15-15). He signed two weeks ago and has barely played. Against the Cavs, he erupted for 32. Good for him; he’s a great guy who always plays hard. Even better that the Cavs were able to overcome it.

14. Anyway, the Cavs are 2-0 on their longest homestand of the season, with four to go. They’re 14-2 at home overall. Next up: Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton (if healthy,) and the Jazz, Mitchell’s former team, on Monday.

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