Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
- Magic take time with search; Stackhouse on radar? - April 23, 2018
- Dribbles: LeBron, Cavs snag a win, steal momentum - April 23, 2018
- Dribbles: Another plunge puts Cavs season in jeopardy - April 21, 2018
CLEVELAND — Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 102-95 win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
1. This is the type of game a veteran team wins and a young team lets slip away. So Cleveland fans should rejoice. It is their team that has the super-duper stars and noticeable experience.
2. And more help is on the way. But we’ll get to Deron Williams (and maybe Andrew Bogut) in a moment.
3. For now, let’s focus on who is already here. Or in the case of LeBron James, who was back after missing a game with strep throat.
4. Not surprisingly, James was his usual self, scoring 24 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and just making winning plays when the Cavs (41-17) needed them most.
5. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue on LeBron: “He can defend, rebound, get guys involved, get guys easy shots, score the basketball. He knows when to pick his spots and when to be aggressive offensively.”
6. Other than that, LeBron stinks, Lue added.
7. OK, I made that part up. But I just wanted to make sure you’re still paying attention. And mostly to punctuate the point that, even at the age of 32, there is nothing LeBron can’t do.
8. Kyrie Irving led the way with 25 points and his usual array of nifty moves near the hoop. Irving’s bank shot from near the corner over helpless Bucks defender Malcolm Brogdon was the shot of the night.
9. Derrick Williams and Kyle Korver added 14 and 13 points, respectively, to continue their fantastic February. Tristan Thompson scored eight, grabbed eight boards and had one monster block with about 5 minutes left. That one play swung the momentum toward the Cavs for the rest of the night.
10. This Bucks team is young, athletic and downright scary. That is why holding All-Star swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo to nine measly points was huge.
11. Lue credited the underrated defense of Richard Jefferson. “RJ was really physical with him and got him off his sweet spot,” Lue said.
12. OK, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for — the Deron Williams update. For starters, you can read my story about Williams and Andrew Bogut right here.
13. LeBron on what Deron Williams offers: “Automatic leadership. He’s run multiple franchises, so you know he knows how to run a ball club. He’s played in big games, so you know he won’t shy away from the moment. He can knock down shots and make plays.”
14. Kyrie talked of Williams’ versatility and said, “I think he’ll fit right in.”
15. As for Bogut, don’t ask, because I have no idea if he’ll sign with the Cavs. I don’t even know if he knows. But I’d think of all the teams he’s reportedly considering (Cleveland, San Antonio, Houston and Boston), the Cavs offer him the best shot at another title.
16. Should the Cavs sign Bogut, he will add instant rim protection off the bench. He will also be able to share some of Golden State’s secrets. Don’t underestimate either potential role.
17. With or without Bogut, I think the Cavs are pretty well set. If Bogut opts to go elsewhere, they may consider recently waived big man Terrence Jones (New Orleans). For whatever reason, free agent center Larry Sanders appears to be a no-go after last week’s audition in Cleveland.
18. Lue said he expects Deron Williams to “really command that second unit.” Best of all, with Williams, LeBron and Kyrie can rest at the same time — as Williams offers a third man to take charge and get the team into the offense. “I’m very excited,” Lue said. “I saw the fans were excited today. [Williams got a standing ovation when shown on the Jumbotron.] He’s excited too.”