Dribbles: JB Bickerstaff Not Thrilled, But Cavs Get Win They Needed vs. Wizards

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 114-105 road win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards, NBA

1. That was more like it. Was it always a thing of beauty? Not exactly. But it was a win, and it doesn’t really matter that the Wizards stink. You can only take care of the business in front of you, and that’s precisely what the Cavs did.

2. The Cavs had an extremely balanced night, and it was their two big men who led the way. Jarrett Allen (22 points and 12 rebounds) and Evan Mobley (21 and six, respectively) were both very good. Darius Garland went for 17 points and seven assists. Donovan Mitchell returned to score 16.

3. And what do you know, but Caris LeVert finally burst out of his mini-slump to record 18 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists off the bench. We all figured he’d break out of it at some point — but no one thought he’d come close to a triple-double when he did. The man was, in a word, fantastic.

4. Entering the game, Cleveland had lost three of four and two straight. Washington was just 1-34 against teams with winning records. There is no such thing as a “must-win” in February. But this was pretty doggone close. The Cavs needed to get back on track.

5. Again, that’s not to say everything went perfectly. Just ask coach JB Bickerstaff.

6. Bickerstaff to reporters: “I don’t think we played to our standard tonight. I expected more fire from our group after losing two games in a row.”

7. He wasn’t finished. “We’ve got to get back to playing with that spirit, (like) the way we played before the break,” he said. “We have some tough stretches coming up here. We’ve got to be better and I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play.”

8. Bickerstaff makes a valid point. The Cavs actually trailed 94-88 after Washington went on a 14-0 run. Then Garland hit a couple of 3-pointers and the Cavs went on a 22-4 run of their own. Garland scored eight of his points during that stretch.

9. So the Cavs (37-19) remain a full game ahead of Milwaukee for first place in the Central Division and second overall in the Eastern Conference. There’s plenty of basketball to be played, but these are the types of games that the Cavs need to win. That would be the games in which they are heavily favored.

10. Jordan Poole scored 31 points to lead the woeful Wizards (9-48) and Kyle Kuzma added 27. Washington how now lost a season-high 11 straight. Cleveland product and former Cavs front office man Michael Winger is in his first season as Wizards head of basketball operations. He has quite a tall task in front of him.

11. Not surprisingly, the Cavs swept the four-game season series. You’d pretty much have to be asleep not to do that against the Wizards.

12. Could we be in and out of the Dribbles in less than 550 words? For the first time this season, it sure looks that way. But there isn’t a whole lot to say. The Cavs did what they needed to do, period, end of discussion. Next up: Tuesday at home vs. Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks.

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