Random dribbles after the Cavaliers’ 114-96 road drubbing of the Mavericks …
1. Isn’t this just fun, Cavaliers fans? I hope it is indeed fun for you — because it sure is fun for your favorite team.
2. That will probably be the only insight you’ll find here. The Cavs are having fun. The rest will be based off pure observation and stats.
3. I know I’ve written this before, but things are just different with Evan Mobley on the court. He alone isn’t responsible for wins like Monday. But he is the constant threat, an extremely talented big man who plays unselfishly, never forcing a thing. His presence truly does benefit everyone else.
5. Allen scored 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting, pulled down 14 rebounds and continuously protected the basket. He seemingly is well on his way to being the Cavs’ representative in the All-Star Game, which just happens to be in Cleveland this season.
6. Then again, with the way Cavs (11-10) are playing when entirely healthy, they may have a few.
7. Markkanen finished with 24 points, eight boards and went 5-of-9 shooting on 3-pointers. He was serviceable-to-good to start the season — but has been outstanding in each of the previous two games.
8. Then there’s Mobley, who recorded 12 points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots and made a number of smart plays you won’t find on the stat sheet. Allen, Markkanen and Mobley. The Cavs are getting it done with 7-footers. Small-ball can kiss their buns.
9. And how can you not be impressed with coach J.B. Bickerstaff. I’ve said this before too — but the bottom line is Bickerstaff has his team playing hard every night, playing with confidence and really believing it should never lose.
10. Bickerstaff on the state of things: “This is who we gotta be to be successful. The ball’s gotta move. Everybody’s gotta be involved, we have to be unselfish. If we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it together.”
11. Bickerstaff on Allen: “He was dominant. We’ve seen it before, just how effective and how dominant he can be. You watch him now, he’s getting it in different ways. It’s not just pick-and-roll or offensive rebounds. The ball is finding him in the post and he’s working his post moves. … So he’s diversifying his game.”
12. Darius Garland added a very underrated 18 points and nine assists, setting up the big guys and continuing his progress as a floor leader. Kevin Love and Isaac Okoro added 10 points apiece on a combined 7-of-10 shooting.
13. Granted, Mavs star Luka Doncic still finished with a triple-double of 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. But there’s really no way to slow down that man. So the Cavs focused on everyone else.
14. Bickerstaff on the defense: “We did a good job on the other guys (besides Doncic). We didn’t allow anyone else to go off or get going. So you have a night like tonight, where he has a triple-double because he’s a great player. But we didn’t allow anyone else to have a big impact on the game.”
15. Remember, the Mavs (10-9) are no slouch. They are a playoff team and they tend to be particularly good at home, where they are now 6-3 on the year. But the Cavs are proving to be particularly good on the road (6-4). When they aren’t winning there, they are competing. On this night, they railroaded the other guys.
16. The Cavs outrebounded the Mavs by a 49-33 count, hustled their way to a 60-46 advantage in points in the paint and outshot the Mavericks 56 percent to 44 percent. It resulted in their most lopsided victory of the year.
17. So, yeah, isn’t this fun? You can be sure the Cleveland Cavaliers sure think so.