Dribbles: Hard for fans, but Cavs needed rest

Tristan Thompson and the shorthanded Cavaliers couldn't keep up with Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies. (AP)

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 93-85 loss to the host Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

1. Well, thank heavens that’s over.

2. Then again, if you’re a true basketball fan, sometimes the essence of the game is enough. You don’t always need LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to enjoy a night in the NBA.

3. OK, you probably do.

4. And leave it to me to write a dribbles column after this game, but not after the one Tuesday, when the Cavs actually beat the Grizzlies at home.

5. You may not have been that fired up for this game, but the Cavs on the floor were — and coach Tyronn Lue clearly was as well. Lue met with the media after the loss and sounded like he just lost a playoff game. I was impressed with how much these guys got after it.

6. Lue understood how some fans were probably upset with the fact the Big Three (especially LeBron) didn’t play.

7. Lue told reporters in Memphis: “When the best player in the world doesn’t play, it’s tough on the fans. It’s close to Christmas, so it was probably a lot of people’s Christmas present. But it wasn’t anything intentional. It was just circumstance. I’m sorry to the fans who didn’t get to see him play.”

8. You can read my full (OK, somewhat half-hearted) recap of the game here. But just know veteran Cavs forward James Jones is nicknamed “Champ” for a reason. He’s used sparingly throughout the season, but came out on a mission and led the team with 15 points.

9. Fans also had to like what they saw from backup point guard Kay Felder. The 5-foot-9 rookie scored 14 points, passed for four assists and grabbed three rebounds. He may not be the immediate answer for extended minutes behind Irving, but he sure looks like he’ll be able to play the role someday — and soon.

10. As Cavs analyst Campy Russell told the FOX Sports Ohio audience: “Felder’s vision seemed to widen as the game went along.”

11. Back to Jones. He’s 14-of-19 on 3-pointers for┬áthe┬áseason. “That’s my job,” he told the media. “My job is to make shots. If I get open looks, I can’t blame anyone but myself if I miss.”

12. Bottom line: The Cavs expect to be playing well into June. I’m not a huge fan of stars resting. But I’m a huge fan of stars being healthy when it means the most. No one will remember this game in, like, two weeks.

13. Well, if you’re still with me, you’re a true fan. (And may or may not need to get out more.) Either way, the full Cavs’ lineup is expected to be intact for Saturday’s home game against the Lakers.

14. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. will also be there, and I encourage you to check out what Akron’s other NBAer can do, via this video.

For Cavs, it was no Big Three, and no victory