Dribbles: No Need To Start Freaking Out About Cavs

Random dribbles ahead of the Cavaliers’ road game vs. the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. …Donovan Mitchell and JB Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

1. Winning cures everything. That’s really all the Cavs need to know. Here’s some good news — they already know it.

2. So if it seems like the wheels are coming off, well, don’t believe the hype. The Cavs can turn it around, but they must start with a victory. And there’s no place to do it like a road game against a struggling opponent — which happens to be playing for nothing more than the draft lottery.

3. Since the ugly loss to the Nuggets on Sunday, the rumors have started to circulate in Cleveland yet again. Donovan Mitchell is on his way out, they say. Mitchell complained about the way the team is playing, meaning he hates it here, they add. The Cavs are again first-round playoff fodder, they insist.

4. Here’s what I think of all that: Blah, blah, blah and blah. Here’s more news: Fans and media freaking out and making predictions have zero to do with the team’s trajectory. Only the team is in control of that.

5. And here is my advice on Mitchell: Wait until the season plays out. Wait until the summer. Wait until it’s the actual silly season of hints, allegations, rumors, and the like. The playoffs are approaching. This team will be there. Try to enjoy it.

6. Granted, the Cavs are not playing well. I wrote that already. I get it. It’s frustrating. I also know things could change if they do fail to get out of the first round. But I doubt there will be sweeping changes. If there’s one thing we learned from the defending champion Denver Nuggets, it’s that you sometimes just need to ride out the tough times.

7. For the record, the Cavs (45-30) aren’t experiencing tough times. They just had a lousy March. It’s what you do in April and May that matters. And here we are — April.

8. They currently own the third seed in the Eastern Conference, by an oh-so-slim margin. That means a half-game ahead of New York for the fourth seed and one game ahead of Orlando.

9. Not a big deal, to me, if they finish fourth. It is a bigger deal if they finish fifth because that means no home-court advantage in the first round. Still, I’m not worried about home-court if the first-round opponent is Orlando. Sorry, I’m just not.

10. I didn’t like the way the Cavaliers looked in March. There were some troubling signs. Darius Garland has not been himself, and that’s a problem. But that was March. This is April, and the Cavs just need a win. They have a good opportunity to get one in Utah. So go get it. That will make people realize that things aren’t nearly as bad as they’re being made out to be.

11. Yes, the Cavs could lose. They actually will lose if they don’t play better than they’ve been lately. But they have seven games left. I suspect if they win three they they will keep the third seed. Win two, and you might fall to fourth. Win one and you may have a first-round matchup with the Magic that starts in Orlando. 

12. So, the worst-case scenario isn’t really that bad. The Cavaliers still have time to turn it on and I think it’s silly to completely give up hope that they can still do so.

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