Random dribbles on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have won two straight after a 10-game skid.
1. Don’t look now, but maybe the Cavs are rediscovering what worked earlier this season. And it starts with bending their knees and shuffling their feet on defense.
2. For the first time in forever, the Cavs held an opponent under 100 points in Wednesday’s 112-96 home roll of the Houston Rockets.
3. It’s true that the Cavs have beaten two straight relatively easy opponents in the Rockets and Atlanta Hawks., But who cares? At this point, the only expectation we should have of the Cavs is to beat the struggling teams at home. With the exception of the Oklahoma City Thunder, they’ve done that this season.
4. And man oh man, what a find center Jarrett Allen has become. Landing Allen from the Brooklyn Nets has been one of the highlights of Koby Altman‘s tenure as general manager.
5. Allen tied his career-high with 26 points, and also grabbed a whopping 18 rebounds, vs. the Rockets. He finished 10-of-11 from the field, just a few nights after going 11-of-11.
6. It’s no wonder that Allen leads the entire NBA with a field-goal percentage of 67.2. Now that he’s getting comfortable, he’s proving to be the perfect next to the young backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
8. Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff to reporters: “At 22 years old, Jarrett is not near his potential ceiling — and that’s the part I’m most excited about. He plays off his teammates well and he knows they’re looking for him.”
9. Allen’s play has made the idea of giving up on Andre Drummond not a terrible one. But Allen is the better player and considerably better fit. But the Cavs need to deal Drummond as soon as they can. And cut ties sooner rather than later if they can’t.
10. The New York Knicks undoubtedly have an interest in a Drummond trade. Or as Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote, they are currently “analyzing” a deal. Drummond would welcome a trade to the Knicks, so perhaps something can be worked out there.
11. And let’s not forget that longtime Cavs cap guru Brock Aller now holds a similar role for the Knicks. So if anyone can work out a deal for Drummond from a financial perspective, New York can.
12. So why would an opposing team trade for Drummond, as opposed to wait for a buyout? Because if Drummond hits the buyout market, he would be free to sign with anyone.
13. That’s where the Cavs have some leverage. If you want Drummond (and multiple teams think they might), then your best bet is to trade for him. Otherwise, you’ll be left to fight for him once he hits the waiver wire.
14. Anyway, back to the men who are actually in uniform? Sexton continues to do what he does best, which is score. He isn’t an All-Star quite yet, and given the Cavs’ record (12-21), it was fair for him to be left out of the All-Star Game.
15. What isn’t fair is that the Cavs’ 10-game losing streak came during one of the most brutal stretches in modern league history — and it likely cost Sexton some consideration.
16. In other words, you could make the argument either way. But the bottom line is Sexton isn’t yet as good as any backcourt player named from the East (or West, for that matter).
17. And how about Dylan Windler? He went 4-of-4 on 3-pointers vs. the Rockets, finishing with 13 points. He will become a factor if he becomes the needed perimeter threat the Cavs so desperately need.
18. The Cavs have three games left before the break — at Philadelphia, at Houston and vs. Indiana. It’s gonna be tough to win any of them. But if they can win two of three, and that’s a big if, they will be right back in the playoff conversation.