Dribbles: Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert rise again as Cavs slip by Spurs

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 117-115 home win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.Jarrett Allen

1. It wasn’t always easy, it definitely wasn’t pretty … but a win is a win is a win. 

2. Translation: By the end of the week, no one will remember that the Cavs were lacking energy and basically sleepwalking in falling behind 26-12, then doing just enough to beat a young, struggling opponent. All that we’ll notice is there’s another notch in the win column.

3. Yes, this was a lot tougher than it should have been against a team that is now a miserable 5-30 on the season. The Spurs are pretty much No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama (24 points, nine rebounds, five big blocks) and a bunch of G-Leaguers.

4. But hey, the Cavs (21-15) will take it. And take it they did, by a whisker, but again, a whisker still counts. Bottom line: Cleveland has now won three straight and five of seven.

5. Jarrett Allen offered another All-Star performance with 29 points, 16 rebounds and 7-of-7 shooting on free throws. It’s safe to say he wasn’t the least bit bothered by the 7-foot-5 Weymbanyama. Or anyone for that matter.

7. Also, Caris LeVert was huge off the bench, bringing the Cavs to life when nothing else seemed to work. That included a couple of buzzer-beaters to end the first and third quarters. He finished with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers.

8. Donovan Mitchell added 17 points on an off day shooting-wise, finishing just 1-of-10 on threes. Still, he passed for a game-high nine assists and kept others involved. Sam Merrill scored 18 off the bench and his ability to spread the floor has been a big boost for the Cavs.

9. Let’s be honest, Merrill should remain part of the rotation even after Darius Garland returns from a jaw injury.

10. Isaac Okoro and Dean Wade combined for just three points (all from Okoro), and while it’s not all about numbers — those two will need to up their output at least a little until Garland and Evan Mobley (knee) get back. In fairness, both Okoro and Wade consistently have been contributing in other areas, and scoring enough points is rarely a problem for the Cavs.

11. That can be exemplified by this game alone, as the Cavs’ bench scored a sizzling 60 points.

12. LeVert to Bally Sports on the win: “Our defense in the second half was pretty good. We sort of took our foot off the gas in the fourth. We gotta clean that up. But overall it was a good win for us.”

13. LeVert has now reached 6,000 career points. He chalked it up to “longevity” and “putting in the work every day.” That’s hard to argue. LeVert has a reputation as being among those who go the hardest in practice scrimmages.

14. Devin Vassell added 22 points for the Spurs and Keldon Johnson scored 18. Old friend Cedi Osman added nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.

15. You have to wonder how much longer San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich will want to keep doing this — but I’m pretty sure I’ve been asking that for the past decade.

16. So now it’s off to Paris for the Cavs for another “home” game, this time against the Nets. Why the NBA decided on this in the middle of the regular season, we may never know. But I’m all for trying to continue to grow the game globally, and this is another way to do it. So great for the team from Cleveland to be involved.

17. Sunday was the last day for the Cavs to guarantee Tristan Thompson‘s contract for the rest of the season, as we wrote here. Nothing’s official, but I’ve heard that’s exactly what they intend to do. Thompson finished with eight points and four rebounds in 17 minutes.

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