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Eight random dribbles on the Cavaliers’ 89-77 win at Boston on Tuesday.
1. This isn’t true of everyone, but when the Cavs put their minds to it, they can accomplish just about anything. That’s especially the case when you have LeBron James (24 points), and Kevin Love (20 and eight rebounds) is clicking.
2. The Cavs were contained and a little lifeless on their way to 40 points in the first half. Yes, 40 points. The Celtics are a determined team that plays intelligently and with energy. So they deserve some credit. But the Cavs just weren’t creating many scoring opportunities off turnovers or shooting it very well.
3. That changed in the third quarter. The Cavs emerged from the locker room looking invigorated. They held the Celtics to 22 percent shooting over the next eight minutes. Timofey Mozgov was instrumental in that stretch. He played “big” the entire game, by clogging the lane and protecting the basket. James, Matthew Dellavedova and even J.R. Smith were also among those who helped turn things around defensively.
4. Of course, Iman Shumpert is always important in that area, too. He proved it again in his second game back from offseason wrist surgery. The bad news is Shumpert left in the second half with a groin injury. He never returned. Reports out of Boston said Shumpert is out for Thursday’s home game vs. Oklahoma City. Reports also said the Cavs suspect the injury is not all that serious. We should know more Wednesday afternoon.
5. So make it three straight wins, including two straight on the road, and a 16-7 overall record. The Cavs also improved their road record to 6-6.
6. Ready for more good news? ESPN is reporting Kyrie Irving intends to make his season debut Thursday. As you know, Irving has been out since Game 1 of the Finals and underwent knee surgery in June. You can watch him train and listen to him talk about his return in this inspirational video from Nike.
7. Bottom line: This wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Cavs turned a five-point deficit into a 10-point advantage in about seven minutes. They never looked back against a well-coached and hungry opponent in the Celtics (14-11).
8. LeBron on the win: “We knew it was going to be that type of game, just coming off the playoff series we had with them (a 4-0 series sweep by the Cavs). And, it’s our first time seeing them. We were able to answer the call.”