Dribbles: For Cavs, (mostly) good health meaning good things

Random dribbles ahead of the Cavaliers’ home game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.Darius Garland celebrates with teammates (Getty)

1. The Cavs have won six of eight. It may not sound like much, but imagine if this were the start of the season. Imagine how people would be talking about the Cavs if they were 6-2 (instead of 10-8). Imagine if they were mostly healthy during those first couple of weeks.

2. In other words, we tend to get worked up about records in sports, and that makes sense with the behemoth that is the NFL. But in the NBA, there are so many games … well, it’s good never to get too high or too low. You just try to focus on the big picture.

3. And when healthy, the big picture for the professional basketball team in Cleveland looks fairly promising. 

4. I wrote this the other day, but it’s worth repeating. (At least, it is in my eyes, and this is my website, so you’ll just have to bear with me.) Anyway, Donovan Mitchell knocked on a wooden table when I asked Evan Mobley about how this team looks when totally healthy.

5. Mitchell likely did that because the Cavs haven’t had all of their starters, on the court at the same time, for any significant stretch. We’re not even 20 games in and already Mitchell has missed some, Darius Garland has missed some, Jarrett Allen missed a bunch at the start, and others have been in and out of the lineup. It’s hardly been a recipe for a burst out of the gates.

6. Granted, this is the modern NBA and despite the advances in medicine and more medical personnel per team, there seem to be more injuries than ever. Not just with the Cavs — everywhere. It could be a result that with advances in medicine and care, team doctors are being smarter about when guys should play through an injury. This is not a part of the season you want to do that. It’s better to be healthy at the end.

7. None of that is official, by the way. I’m just guessing. As my parents reminded me through the years, I chose to be a sportswriter over medical school. But there are so many injuries these days that the league made rules to try to keep guys on the floor. It hasn’t worked. That’s not necessarily the case with the Cavs, but a quick look around the league reveals lots of missed games by key players already.

8. Anyway, I’m rambling on here. I do that well. All you really need to know is when the Cavs are healthy, they’re showing that they are still an East contender. Winning games against lesser opponents such as the Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons (on the road, Saturday) are ways to keep a good thing going.

9. Tipoff is 7 p.m. I’m thankful it’s just a regular-season game. I’m not an In-Season Tournament hater, but it’s a lot to try to learn. It made me feel like I was studying for finals all over again. But as you know, the Cavs aren’t advancing and we no longer need to care.

10. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff has preached that no matter who’s on the court, you can always defend. That has been the key to the Cavs staying afloat and being pretty good lately. 

11. The Cavs beat Portland on the road a couple of weeks ago, but the Blazers didn’t have rookie guard Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick. He struggled early, missed time with an ankle injury, and has been decent since. All I can say is good luck trying to get it turned around vs. Mitchell and Garland.

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  1. NOPE!
    Mr Dariussss, the turnover machine has struck again.
    Trying to drive into 2-3 defenders & get up a shot, means, wait for it….
    …someone else IS OPEN.
    Just seems when they are good enough to get a double digit lead, then
    they can go into a coast mode & just throw it up NEAR the basket and it
    just might fall in….??? OR go with the casual type passes like in practice
    sessions or pardon the expression, just taking a “cavalier” attitude.
    Detroit might be easy, but Orlando, & the Heat will NOT!
    This rollercoaster is NOT easy to ride,,,, or watch.

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