CLEVELAND — Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 133-115 blowout home win over the Bucks on Sunday.
1. Once I saw the Bucks were starting some guy named Sandro Mamukelashvili, I pretty much knew it was over.
2. Turns out that was right, as this game was little more than 48 minutes of garbage time.
3. The Cavs had 79 points at halftime. Part of me was wondering if they’d finish with 179. As I tweeted, this game probably gave us a good idea of what a game between the Cavs and G League’s Wisconsin Herd might look like.
4. There isn’t really much to take away from the game. All that matters is the Cavs did what they were supposed to do in the regular-season finale. They pummeled a team that was just fine with being pummeled.
5. In other words, the defending champion Bucks decided to rest up their best players — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, etc. — for the playoffs. It made sense. The Bucks didn’t need a win. The Cavs sort of did.
6. So kudos to the Cavs for going out and taking care of business.
7. Their reward? Another trip to Brooklyn, to face Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets in the play-in tournament.
8. Most people won’t give the Cavs a fighting chance. You can’t blame most people. Durant and Irving have lots of big game experience. This is all new to the likes of Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.
9. But hey, that’s why they play the games. Right? Right.
10. Worst-case scenario: The Cavs lose to the Nets. But that doesn’t mean their chance to make the playoffs is over.
11. All they will need to do is beat the Hawks or the Hornets in the next game. And that game would be played at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Whoever wins (the Cavs or their opponent) would be the No. 8 seed in the East in that scenario.
12. So if the Cavs do lose to the Nets, they will need to take care of business at home one more time. If they can do that, then it’s hello Heat, the No. 1 seed.
13. Heat or whoever doesn’t matter. All the Cavs want is for their guys to get a taste of a real playoff series. Any coach in any sport will tell you, nothing teaches players quite like the postseason.
14. But here’s the good news: The Cavs finished the regular season with a record of 44-38. That’s fantastic when you consider all the injuries they’ve had to overcome. It’s even better when you consider we all picked them to win 30 games if they’d stayed entirely healthy … and that was being generous.
15. That is something on which to build. The Cavs have shown tons of promise. Of course, there will be time enough for all that talk after the season. Seeing how far they can go in this one is the priority. And man, what a fun ride it is.
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WELL SAID !