Dribbles: Cavaliers come out flat, then fight, then fall

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Random dribbles following the Cavaliers' 95-87 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

1. Well, now we know why this one wasn't scheduled for Christmas Day. Talk about Dullsville.

2. The Cavs fell behind by a 11-1 count, then basically played the Grizzlies even after that. Still, you just sort of knew they weren't going to win.

3. Cavs coach Larry Drew to reporters: "It was the start of the game that really put us in a little bit of a hole. The first six minutes, we just couldn't make a shot."

4. Don't look now, but the Cavs (8-27) have the worst record in the league. This excites many of my readers -- and probably the Cavs. If you're gonna be bad, you may as well do it right. That way you increase the odds of landing a top-flight prospect, such as Duke's Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.

5. The only thing bad about landing the No. 1 draft pick is you will only get one of those two players. And there will undoubtedly be a lot of stress in trying to figure out which one will make a better pro.

6. It's not even January and I'm writing about the draft. That's in June. It's like 2014 all over again and I for one do not mind. My life has changed considerably since then and you could say the same about the Cavs.

7. Jordan Clarkson led the Cavs with 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting. I like Clarkson, and plenty of contenders would love to have him coming off their bench. But I'm not so sure he'll still be here when the Cavs are playoff contenders again.

8. That could be as soon as next season. All the Cavs need to do is draft well, hit on their trades and remain in the Eastern Conference.

9. Collin Sexton broke out of his mini-funk with 16 points, and even passed for six assists and grabbed five rebounds. Sexton isn't overly flashy and isn't likely to ever be mistaken for a great distributor. But I don't see anyone drafted after him absolutely killing it, so he deserves considerably more time, if you ask me.

10. You also have to appreciate how the Cavs have really battled in, oh, about 90 percent of their games despite being overmatched. Yes, they are losing -- but there has been almost none of the drama that typically results in a losing culture (at least, not much lately).

11. Wednesday was no different, as the Cavs scrapped and clawed to the finish despite trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter.

12. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley on the Cavs: "They're a team that doesn't quit. They have a really good coach and some young talent over there. We had to finish the game out."

13. I agree with Conley. The Cavs are well-coached. So add two more years to Drew's contract. Maybe even three, if he demands it.

14. Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson offered more praise: "That's a solid team. Their record doesn't do them justice. They're still a bunch of good guys that play together."

15. Another ringing endorsement for Drew. So Cavs owner Dan Gilbert should just do it. Make the deal.

16. The Cavs were without Rodney Hood (Achilles soreness) and David Nwaba (knee). They still don't have their two best players in Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Recently acquired big man John Henson, also out, should help someday, too.

17. Drew is getting the most out of the limited practice time, and the men he does have on the floor.

18. That said, the Cavs scored just nine points in the first quarter and had a season-low 32 at halftime. "Maybe it was Christmas, who knows," Clarkson said. "Maybe everybody (ate) well on Christmas and came in a little slow."

19. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies (18-16) with 20 points and nine boards. Conley had 15 points and eight assists.

20. The Cavs pay a visit to the Miami Heat on Friday. For the first time since LeBron James left the Cavs the first time (2010), not many outside either city will notice.