Dribbles: Cavs Whip Up Fourth Straight Win … And About That Trade Chatter

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 105-95 home win over the Heat on Monday.

1. It seems like we’re saying the same thing over and over and over about the Cavs.

2. And that’s a good thing.Kevin Love

3. So make it four straight wins, fourth in the Eastern Conference, and first when it comes to the NBA’s biggest surprise at about the 30-game mark.

4. And guess what else? Once again, this was a teamwide effort, a balanced attack in which the Cavs played the right way for most of the night and just got the job done.

5. On this night, Kevin Love led the way with 23 points (all in the second half), making 6-of-10 shots. That included a 6-of-8 performance on 3-pointers.

6. Isaac Okoro continued his recent string of strong contributions with 18 points, Jarrett Allen scored 17 and Darius Garland had 16.

7. Love also pulled down nine rebounds, by the way. He has embraced his role as a reserve and is having his best all-around season in years.

8. Allen on Love, laughing: “Kevin threw his cane to the side and went out and balled out. He played amazing.”

9. Allen on everything else: “We’re playing excellent basketball and doing everything we can as a team, and it’s working.”

10. Love with more: “We’re living in the moment, but our big-picture goals are toward the end of the year. Two things we do extremely well are compete and play defense. And offensively, that’s the thing about this team, anybody at any time can whip it up.”

11. Rookie Evan Mobley was limited to nine points and five rebounds, but still had a decent night overall. Ricky Rubio added seven points, and his seven assists made him just the 12th active player to record 5,000 for his career.

12. Now, we’ve all heard how the Cavs have been talking to the Pacers about available guard Caris LeVert. A new report also suggested they continue to express an interest in 76ers star Ben Simmons.

13. Both of those reports are true, from everything I can tell. But frankly, it sounds as if Cavs GM Koby Altman is merely doing his due diligence on available players. With the way things are going, the Cavs (17-12) are not feeling any pressure to do a thing.

14. In fact, everyone within the organization is the thrilled with the way things are going. They don’t want to tinker too much with what’s working. They don’t want to mess with success.

15. That said, we have to remember that Altman landed Lauri Markkanen in a deal for Larry Nance Jr., and Altman did it when everyone didn’t want to trade Nance, a hometown hoops hero.

16. While Markkanen can be inconsistent individually, team-wise, he’s a fit and a big part of what’s happening. If the Cavs feel they can make a similar deal for another such player, they will do it. Period. Fan and media reaction be darned.

17. And that should be the approach. LeVert and Simmons will fit differently elsewhere than they do in their current surroundings. All we know about LeVert is what we’ve seen from him with the Pacers and Nets before that. We don’t know what he’d look like next to the other Cavs — and it’s foolhardy to even try to predict.

18. As an aside, LeVert is a former teammate of Allen in Brooklyn. Allen, it is said, is a fan.

19. Anyway, it’s hard to envision the Cavs pulling the trigger on anything at the moment. If they’re to do a deal, it will likely be closer to the Feb. 10 deadline.

20. And rather than make a splash, as a Simmons trade would do, or a sizzle (LeVert), they would probably be more apt to do something on a smaller scale. For instance, Magic shooting guard Terrence Ross is available, and he could supposedly be had for cheap, as Orlando focuses on a rebuild.

21. Ross, 30, is 6-foot-6, and the consummate professional who comes off the bench for a young team. He can fill it up. In Cleveland, he would disrupt nothing. All he would do, presumably, is give the Cavs another reliable veteran scorer off the bench. He has proven to be someone who buys into the concept of team.

22. This year, Ross is averaging 10.8 points on a career-low .393 percent shooting. His minutes and his reliability have been a bit sporadic. But last year, he averaged 15.6 points and shot 41 percent from the field. Many around the league feel he only needs a change of scenery (including the Magic).

23. All that said, the Cavs have not yet expressed anything resembling an interest in Ross. I only bring him up because he is the type of available player who could come to Cleveland and offer a boost to something that’s been going well. That is more likely to be the type of player the Cavs are seeking, when compared to a Simmons or LeVert.

24. But no matter what happens, we can trust Altman, coach J.B. Bickerstaff and the players to help any newcomers when it comes to adapting and producing. That’s just the kind of season it’s been. And the good news is, the Cavs have no reason to believe they can’t keep it going as currently constructed.

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