Random dribbles on the Cavaliers following their impressive 94-91 victory over the host Toronto Raptors on Friday:
1. It’s only two games, and it’s hard to get too excited when there’s probably about 100 still to go (including playoffs). But one of the Cavs’ primary goals is to win more road games this season. This was a good start against perhaps their biggest East challenger.
2. Kyrie Irving buried a clutch 3-pointer late after receiving a pass from LeBron James. It was the type of play James often makes — as he drove the lane, drew multiple defenders and found a wide-open man. Irving’s three was the game’s final basket.
3. On the next possession, the Cavs got the defensive stop they needed. Sound familiar? If not, see Game 7 of last season’s NBA Finals.
4. Irving told FOX Sports Ohio, “It’s only two games, we understand that. We have a long season ahead of us. But this right here is just the start of our road victories. We want to consistently come into other arenas and win.”
5. For the second time in two games, Irving led the Cavs in scoring. He went for 26 points after tallying 29 in the opener. James had 21, eight rebounds and seven assists vs. the Raptors. Kevin Love scored 18 and grabbed 10 boards. Tristan Thompson scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds.
6. The Cavs have held their first two opponents to a combined 38 percent shooting and 89.5 points. Coach Tyronn Lue has stressed the wonders of bending your knees, shuffling your feet and really getting after it on the road.
7. Lue told reporters in Toronto, “Last year we would have lost this game — a grind-out game where we’re not scoring well and things aren’t going our way. But we figured out a way to win.”
8. Former NBA forward Danny Granger is now an analyst on NBA TV and offered an interesting take. “The best thing that happened to the Cavs was Kevin Durant going to the Warriors,” Granger told the national television audience. “It’s taken all the attention off the Cavs. They are dialed in.”
9. On the sort-of downside, James played 39 minutes. Irving played 38, and Love and Thompson 36 apiece. Nothing too terrible about any of that, as the Cavs played to win and pulled it off. Too much is made of minutes in today’s game, anyway.
10. But Lue has set what he’s calling a “red zone” when it comes the starters’ playing time — particularly that of James and Irving. It will be interesting to see how much those two are on the floor Saturday vs. Orlando.
11. The Cavs have found at least one taker for a trade that would ship out both Mo Williams’ contract and shooting guard Jordan McRae. It appears the Cavs are leaning toward pulling the trigger. One league source said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Cavs made a deal this weekend. That said, these things can fall apart quickly. But an offer is there if the Cavs want it.
12. McRae did not play Friday after receiving only garbage-time minutes in the opener. If the Cavs can land a veteran to help relive their stars, or perhaps a true backup point guard, a trade would be the wise thing to do.