Dribbles: Plenty Of Reasons To Believe In Cavs For Stretch Run

Random dribbles on the Cavaliers, who begin the post-break portion of the season at home vs. the Orlando Magic on Thursday.Donovan Mitchell and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

1. Can the Cavs keep a good thing going? I’ll be honest, I usually have my doubts. But these Cavs have me believing more than any team since the LeBron James era. And these Cavs are a lot less frustrating than those Cavs. 

2. Nor do the Cavs of Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Darius Garland appear to have a shred of drama. Everyone seems to really like each other, having fun when the time calls for it and getting down to business when that becomes the rally cry.

3. It’s hard to believe that coach JB Bickerstaff was reportedly on the hot seat earlier this season. That supposedly became a thing when the Cavs lost at home to the lowly Portland Trail Blazers. The next game was at Detroit, and I’ve heard that had they lost that one … well, it may not have gone so well for Bickerstaff.

4. That doesn’t mean Bickerstaff would’ve been fired. It just means perhaps team ownership would’ve strongly considered it. At least, that’s my takeaway. Regardless, no need to go down that road because today, Bickerstaff has to be considered a candidate for NBA Coach of the Year.

5. He really does have the perfect personality for this team. He’s not too flashy and neither are the Cavs. Credit also belongs to president of basketball operations Koby Altman for assembling a deep and talented roster of good people.

6. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich once told me, “We draft and trade for guys who have gotten over themselves.” I feel as if that applies to Altman and how he put together this team. 

7. Frankly, the personalities of Mitchell and the Cavs’ best players are a big reason why I think they can go places. Everyone at this level is wildly talented. But a team so often takes on the personality of its best individual. How does that person lead? Do they offer praise? Are they harsh? Do they walk the walk? Or just talk the talk?

8. Mitchell is the nicest superstar I’ve been around. If he has a bad day, you sure wouldn’t know it. He will take the blame if he plays poorly — even if a loss isn’t really his fault. He encourages his teammates and treats the 12th man in the same fashion he wants to be treated. A lot of star players are respected by their teammates, but not loved or even liked. Mitchell is clearly cherished in the Cavs’ locker room.

9. I could go on and on for the reasons I believe in a team that has won 18 of 20 — how Garland has forced nothing and put the team first since returning from a broken jaw, Allen’s career season, Mobley’s continued development. Along with all that, there are the underrated contributions from the likes of Max Strus, Isaac Okoro, Caris LeVert, Georges Niang, Dean Wade, Sam Merrill and rookie Craig Porter Jr.

10. Yes, I know. People tell me, “It doesn’t mean anything if they don’t win a playoff series.” And yes, I understand. It will be considered a disappointment if the Cavs don’t get out of the first round. It’s an important next step. But let’s worry about that when the playoffs get here.

11. Right now, just enjoy the moment. Enjoy this team. It’s playing unselfishly and getting after it on defense — and the likeability factor is high. The Cavs (36-17) are fun, and winning. They are giving you every reason to believe. That’s all that matters today.

12. For more, check out my stop on 92.3 The Fan in which I discuss the state of the All-Star Game and the post-break portion of the season. You can listen right here (or directly below).

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!


  1. With Dribble dribble dribble running the “team”,,,, You’ll find just like this game…. struggling to find precious seconds for a comeback at the end. All those “dribble out the almost all the clock” situations… Then, when you HAVE 48 seconds left & actually are attempting a meaningful run, getting within say 6pts., wouldn’t it be nice if you had those 2 minutes you just dribbled & dribbled & dribbled with NO points on the desperation shot, or turnover?
    Not that it’s shooting down your reason to believe, But Mitchell being out, Garland, yes he gets points & some assists(10) in this one, which would seems to shoot down the anti-team vibe, but team cohesion just disappears when Garland gets it… It gets mostly chaotic!

Leave a Reply