Dribbles: Everything keeps right on clicking, as surging Cavs crown Kings

CLEVELAND — Random dribbles from the Cavaliers’ gunslinging 136-110 home win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday. …Donovan Mitchell tries to steal the ball from Domantas Sabonis

1. It feels like we keep saying the same thing over and over about these Cavs. But hey, it’s not our fault. That’s because they just keep doing the same thing — and that would be overtaking anything you put in front of them.

2. On Monday, that opponent was former coach Mike Brown and his Kings. They are no joke. But they were also no match for the Cavs, who were in an all-around rhythm yet again. Offense, defense, sharing the ball and burying 3-pointers. Right now, the Cavs just got it all, baby.

3. They have won six straight, 14 of 15 and 19 of 23. Few teams have been better than Cleveland since the beginning of January. Some may have looked as good, but I guarantee you no one has looked better. They just have such a good flow going. Now, if coach J.B. Bickerstaff could just bottle this up and carry it with him until the end of June.

4. It’s been a whole lot of selfless basketball and playing the right way. And that’s just the offense. When things aren’t clicking entirely at that end, the Cavs have been sticking to their principles on defense. Credit to Bickerstaff for keeping this going and president of basketball operations Koby Altman for assembling a group that just fits.

5. Against the Kings, the Cavs tied their season-high with 23 threes. They attempted 40 of them — for a sizzling 56 percent from beyond the arc. That’s what is known as being on fire.

6. Frankly, it didn’t feel as if they attempted even that many. Not a single one felt forced. (OK, maybe the final one from Georges Niang in garbage time, but that was it.)

7. Bickerstaff on the 3-point barrage: “It’s a weapon, but the important thing is how they are created. You can be a team that jacks up as many threes as you want, but that (alone) is not gonna help you.”

8. That’s not been the Cavs. Again, everything has been fluid. “Sacrifice,” Bickerstaff said. “Putting the team above yourself. Every single guy has done that.”

9. Leading the way, of course, was none other than Donovan Mitchell with 29 points. He did it on 11-of-20 shooting and 5-of-11 on threes. He will be a participant in the 3-point contest at All-Star weekend, as we relayed here. This was actually one of the few nights that you barely noticed Mitchell scored more than 20. It all came so seamlessly.

10. Then again, two of his points were via a pass to himself off the backboard. He slammed home the rebound or pass, whatever you want to call it. It’s usually something that’s reserved for the All-Star Game. Mitchell turns a lot of nights into that — excitement, flair, and lately, a whole lot of winning.

11. Max Strus added 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Caris LeVert scored 17 off the bench and went 3-of-4 on threes.

12. But you didn’t have to hit a three to contribute. Take Jarrett Allen, for instance. He scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting (all inside the arc), grabbing seven rebounds. Evan Mobley and Darius Garland each scored 11 as they continued on their minutes restriction. But Mobley hauled in a whopping 14 rebounds and passed for seven assists — in just 28 minutes.

13. Isaac Okoro and Sam Merrill added an underrated 10 and nine points, respectively, off the bench. Each went 3-of-4 from the field.

14. Sometimes, the numbers really do tell the story, and that was the case in this one. That’s a doggone good team from Sacramento. And the Cavs (32-16) just picked that team apart.

15. Harrison Barnes led the Kings (29-20) with 22 points. De’Aaron Fox added 19, and Domantas Sabonis scored 12 with a game-high 19 rebounds. Without a doubt, Sabonis and Fox were the All-Star Game’s biggest snubs out West.

16. Anyway, back to the Cavs. And get this — they ended the night in first place in the Central Division and second in the Eastern Conference, a few percentage points ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks.

17. Mitchell on that very topic: “It’s good, but it’s February. We’re playing as a group, we’re cohesive. Everyone has risen to the occasion when their name has been called.”

18. And with that, the Cavs and their fans gave a hearty amen.

19. Next up: The Cavs hit the road again, visiting the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply