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DETROIT — Random dribbles from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 116-88 rout of the host Detroit Pistons on Monday.
1. You know things are going your way when Cedi Osman plays the entire fourth quarter and John Holland plays all but a minute of it.
2. Never heard of Osman and Holland? That’s OK. Osman barely gets off the bench and Holland was just called up from the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate in the G League. But both players were closers on this night, and the Cavs needed a game like this.
3. Boy, did they need a game like this.
4. Most people who watched felt comfortable turning it off by halftime. Or if you’re a Pistons fan, probably throwing the remote through the television.
5. That’s just how good the Cavs were from opening tip, especially LeBron James. The Cavs star scored 16 points in about the first eight minutes of the first quarter. He threw precision passes and led the charge defensively. The Cavs came out with tons of energy, and their best player was the biggest reason why.
6. James finished with 18 points and eight assists. Yes, he scored just one basket after the first quarter. He didn’t play at all in the fourth. It wasn’t necessary.
7. James on the night: “That was 48 minutes of game-planning and execution right from the beginning.”
8. Overall, James played just 27 minutes. And James’ minutes, of course, are always Cleveland’s hottest topic.
9. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue on James’ minutes: “Yeah, I hear about that all the time.”
10. You can tell Lue is tired of hearing about it, too. “I played with Michael Jordan (as a member of the Washington Wizards). He was 39-years-old and played 37 minutes a night. … Everyone is built differently.”
11. Lue didn’t stop there. He eventually walked away from the interview session, smiling and touting more former stars who played lots of minutes at an advanced age. Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain were other examples he used.
12. Anyway, back to the game. The Cavs have won five straight. They have won seven of nine. They have scored at least 110 points in eight of those.
13. Think people would be raising a fuss had they just started the season like this?
14. Oh, and they now trail the Pistons by a mere a game in the Central Division. Remember, the Pistons raced to an 8-3 start, and other than the Boston Celtics, were the talk of the East. Now? Not so much.
15. Translation: Ready or not, here come the Cavs. Or so it seems.
16. Kevin Love scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, for his 11th double-double in the Cavs’ 17 games. Jae Crowder added 18 points and Jose Calderon, who started at point guard, had 14.
17. Love on the night: “It felt like us. There weren’t any lapses, there weren’t any letups.”
18. Added James: “We’re in a good groove right now. We just had a lot of flurries tonight. We had a lot of flurries, and we didn’t stop.”
19. That about covers it, as the Cavs have been moving closer to the team they think they can be. And they’ve been doing it without Tristan Thompson (calf), Derrick Rose (ankle), and of course Isaiah Thomas (hip). Iman Shumpert (knee) has also missed some time in there.
20. Bottom line? The Cavs’ still have a little ways to go, and that’s OK. They have a long way to get there, and finally, appear to be on their way.