Dribbles: Cedi Osman, Cavs Show No Mercy to Undermanned Heat

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 113-87 hammer job of the visiting Heat on Sunday. …Kyle Lowry Cedi Osman

1. When the other team is down, you also have to make sure they are out. And man oh man, the Cavs did that on Sunday, especially in the second and third quarters.

2. Nearly everyone stood out for the Cavs, as their burying of the hurting heat truly was a teamwide effort. Of course, perhaps no one stood out as much as Cedi Osman.

3. With Kevin Love on the sideline and nursing a fractured finger, Osman basically took over as the First Power Forward Off The Bench. This despite Osman actually being more of a small forward, or even shooting guard.

4. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, offering an all-around energetic performance. The Cavs (10-6) needed it, too. Not only were they without Love, but power forward Dean Wade, who missed yet another night with a knee issue.

5. In fact, coach J.B. Bickerstaff used just three players off the bench during the game’s critical moments — Osman, Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert, who was forced to exit in the first half after stepping on the foot of the Heat’s Cody Martin and rolling his ankle.

6. Okoro also gave a season-best performance, finishing with a season-high 13 points, all in the first half. Heck, until Sunday, Okoro had just 41 points on the season. So practically quintupled his scoring average vs. the Heat.

7. Anyway, back to Osman. “He was ready to go. I’ll say that,” Bickerstaff told reporters. “He’s one of those guys where there’s a spirit and an energy that we depend on, and we know the lift he gives us. I think he wanted to show he was gonna take advantage of his minutes.”

8. Osman has had an up-and-down career. You never know what you’ll get from him one night to the next. But it was nice that he was up when the Cavs’ bench was otherwise injured and down.

9. Granted, the starters weren’t half-bad themselves. Darius Garland went for 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and a game-high seven assists. Evan Mobley recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds. Donovan Mitchell was barely needed and had 13. And Lamar Stevens tacked on an underrated 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

10. Remember, Stevens couldn’t get off the bench earlier this season. He has clearly earned a spot in the rotation, even when Love and Wade return.

11. As for LeVert, it’s been a rough go of it lately. He’s played fairly well as a facilitator and defender — but cannot seem to put the ball in the basket. That could be evidenced by his 0-of-4 performance vs. the Heat.

12. LeVert is shooting 37 percent on the season, and that actually seems high. He seems to miss a lot more than 73 percent of his shots. But again, he’s playing well enough in all the other areas that he warrants playing time. He’ll likely get back his starting spot if he ever rediscovers his touch.

13. Meanwhile, the Heat were without All-Star Jimmy Butler and potential All-Star Tyler Herro. It actually felt worse than that, as there were times it felt as if the Cavs were playing 5-on-0.

14. But hey, the Cavs have started another win streak, with the Hawks paying a visit on Monday night. 

15. Garland with the final word, via Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor: “We definitely needed it. I think the Charlotte win just boosted everything. Just put us back in the winning column that we needed to get us out of that slump. Just trying to carry it over and we did tonight.”

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