Dribbles: Depth helping to keep Cavs’ rise alive

Dwyane Wade has offered the Cavaliers a major boost off the bench.

Random dribbles following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 113-91 snooze job of a victory over the host Chicago Bulls on Monday.

1. This was a boring game, and that’s a good thing. The Cavs faced a lousy team and took care of business almost immediately. They needed a night with no drama, no fuss, and nothing but easy sailing. That was this game, the Cavs’ 12th consecutive win.

2. Yeah, I know. Twelve in a row. The Cavs can tie the franchise record Wednesday at home against the mighty Sacramento Kings.

3. OK, the Kings aren’t so mighty. But let’s focus on that another day. Besides, I don’t want you to accuse me of jinxing anything.

4. As for the Bulls, man, they’re awful. I don’t think this way often, and don’t usually take it seriously when I do — but I sat there watching and wondering if they could win in the G League. (My answer was yes, but I didn’t necessarily answer with a ton of confidence.)

5. Anyway, back to what really matters. If you’re Cavs fan, you have to love what’s going on. That 5-7 start is now a faded memory, as the Cavs are just getting it done in any way imaginable and in every way that’s needed.

6. They also suddenly look deeper than at any time during either LeBron James era — with Dwyane Wade turning into a legitimate candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. It’s early, but that’s just the truth.

7. Wade came off the bench Monday to score 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, collecting six rebounds along the way. He has also turned into the team’s best defender.

8. Jeff Green also gave another underrated showing in reserve, finishing with 14 points and eight boards.

9. And remember, this team is still missing Tristan Thompson, Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert, and has yet to see Isaiah Thomas take the court. General manager Koby Altman set out to build an experienced and deep roster after trading Kyrie Irving, and that is exactly what Altman has accomplished.

10. Kevin Love has been fantastic lately, and he continued the trend on this night with 24 points and 13 rebounds. James added 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

11. Love to reporters: “That second unit is giving us a great sense of leadership and has us playing at a great pace. Whether LeBron is in there or not, they really know what they can get out of each other. They’ve gotten us back into or gotten a lead for us during this 12-game winning streak.”

12. More Love on the streak: “Early on, we put together some good quarters, but we didn’t really ever put together a full game of sustained effort. But I think that’s what we’re showing now.”

13. One fun moment during the game came when LeBron drove and got fouled for a three-point play, then looked over and said something to Bulls great Scottie Pippen, who was sitting on the sidelines.

14. James smiled and described it to the media this way: “Someone shot a (3-pointer) for us and it hit the rim, but their scorer’s table never reset the shot clock. So when I got the ball, I had to take a bad shot. (Pippen) heard me say to the ref that I had to shoot a forced shot because they didn’t reset the shot clock. On the very next possession, I was able to get an and-one finish with the left hand. I looked over (to Pippen) and said, ‘Those are the type of shots I like to take.’ It was a fun exchange.”

15. Finally, some more numbers: The Cavs (17-7) have tied the franchise mark with seven straight road wins. They’ve done it four other times — with 1997-98 being the most recent. More precisely, it last happened 20 years ago this month.

16. They have also scored at least 100 points in 17 straight games. The last time they did that? Try 1988-89, when they accomplished the feat 19 times in a row. Today’s Cavs are averaging 114.3 points per game since Nov. 1. Not bad, eh?

17. By the way, is it just me, or is the Bulls’ Fred Hoiberg the most likely coach to get canned next? Their struggles are hardly entirely his fault, but guess who always takes the fall for disastrous starts?

3 Comments on "Dribbles: Depth helping to keep Cavs’ rise alive"

  1. Nostradamus | December 5, 2017 at 7:03 am |

    Wade should stay on as the captain of the 2nd unit. Why mess that up with D Rose coming back? I think Rose should be the 4th string point guard. Calderon has shown how steady he is, playing D and not causing any problems with bad decision-making. Isaiah hopefully will improve the starting 5 with a burst of energy. But this Cavs 2nd unit has been incredible. I just hope that TT and Rose don’t mess up the chemistry. Shump will fit in like he did before. Wade has turned back the clock with his play. Incredible efficiency.

    • Calderon & Shumpert playing in front of Rose? Really??? Only if Rose’s mental state is a bigger issue than we know. Otherwise, he’s too talented to play behind those two.

    • Brandon Teel | December 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm |

      When IT is at full strength and playing 24 plus minutes Rose probably won’t see but 8-12 minutes a night anyway. Everyone knows his injury problems so he will play some with the second unit but is still a liability on the defensive end. Rose will more than likely split some time with Shumpert and Calderon will be back on the bench. Wade Green Korver TT will stay the core of the second unit bringing in occasionally a Rose, Shumpert, Frye depending on the situation but the second unit guys will also play with a few starters so playing time is going to wear thin for some of these guys. I think during the Playoffs some of them might not even hit the floor but we will see.

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