Missing Two All-Stars? No Sweat, as Soaring Cavs Rise Yet Again

Trade Donovan Mitchell. Trade Darius Garland.

That’s a joke, of course. But just in case you were wondering, yes, the Cavaliers are more than just their two All-Star guards.Jarrett Allen

They put that on full display, with a 112-88 hammer job of a road win over the Pistons on Friday. So make it seven straight wins and a whole lot of momentum heading into the next road game — Sunday afternoon against LeBron James and the Lakers.

So, how did the Cavs (7-1) win so easily without the injured Mitchell (ankle) and Garland (knee)? Well, with good old-fashioned teamwork, basically.

Suddenly, the Cavs are playing basketball as it might be described on Wikipedia. They appear to have mastered the very basics.

“We obviously have a ton of respect and appreciation for Darius and Donovan, but we’ve got some really good basketball players that are with them,” Coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. “Tonight showed we’ve got a really good, deep basketball team.”

Yeah, it sure did.

On this night, it was Kevin Love coming off the bench to record a near triple-double with 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

It was Jarrett Allen scoring a team-high 23 points and getting in the Pistons’ way defensively. It was Cedi Osman tallying 15 on a night when the Cavs needed someone to step up and help filling the void. Caris LeVert added 15 as well, and continued his habit of keeping things moving.

Oh, and it was Evan Mobley doing so much more than just collecting 11 points and eight boards. How does a whopping EIGHT blocked shots sound to go along with it?

It actually sounds great, Bickerstaff implied.

“It wasn’t just eight blocks — it was eight blocks that retained possession and he did it without committing a foul,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s old school Bill Russell stuff we’re talking about.”

Yeah, it sure is.

And that type of domination near the basket wasn’t just limited to defense. The Cavs ended up burying the Pistons with a 58-24 scoring advantage inside the paint.

Basically, when your top two perimeter players are on the sideline, you take it to the hoop, y’all. Allen made sure that was the case.

“My main goal tonight was to bring the same kind of energy that we get from two stars,” Allen said. “We knew we had to win as a team, which meant sharing the ball, making sure everyone got their touches and that we played together.”

Overall, this was basically a total tour against an extremely young team featuring former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who ended up with 19 points, but scored just three in the second half.

That was bad news for the Pistons (2-8), who trailed by a 90-68 deficit entering the fourth quarter. Then Love connected on a four-point play, and it was basically garbage time from there.

The only bad thing about it was, given the state of things, Love was only needed for three minutes in the fourth quarter. Had he played a few more, perhaps he would have corralled the two rebounds needed to complete the triple-double.

“That shows you what kind of player Kevin is,” Bickerstaff said. “I discussed it with him, and he told me to do what was best for the game, and that was to give some minutes to our younger guys.”

That’s just Love. That’s just this year’s Cavs. And it’s working out really well.

Jon Iaconis contributed to this post.

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