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Dribbles: Drew, Cavs showing they believe even in defeat


Random dribbles following the Cavaliers' 123-110 loss to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

1. All you really need to know about this one is the Cavs trailed 14-0. They lost by 13. So take away the beginning and the Cavs won by a point.

2. I'll write it over and over and over, but these are the best-case scenarios for this year's Cavs. Beat the crummy teams, play hard against the good ones, avoid drama vs. everyone ... and lose. In that sense, this was a perfect night.

3. At some point, I intend to write another entire column on why the Cavs should keep coach Larry Drew beyond this season. Games like Monday are a reason why. He doesn't give up on his team and the Cavs therefore don't give up on themselves, regardless of the deficit or situation.

4. There are rarely any questions about the rotation and never do you find yourself asking, "Is he awake over there?" in reference to Drew. He doesn't have the overall talent, but his team plays hard almost every night. In an 82-game season where all you do is lose, that's saying something.

5. I have only one other potential candidate for the Cavs' coaching job and he's a product of Northeast Ohio. He also had lunch with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert in Akron several years back and the two of them really hit it off. I'll write an entire column about that candidate after the season.

6. This was also the type of game that makes you believe in Cedi Osman. His stat line read more like a flatline on a heart monitor after the first quarter. It was all zeroes. Somehow, he ended up with 27 points in a complete all-around night. Osman is in his second season but really is just a rookie after backing up LeBron James last year. It will be exciting to see him, Collin Sexton and whoever the Cavs get in the draft moving forward.

7. And even if you want the team to lose to secure a high lottery pick, Cavs fans have to enjoy watching Kevin Love run with this group. It's a different team with considerably different goals, but he seems to be enjoying himself. Love went for 18 points and 12 rebounds in just his fifth game back from toe surgery.

8. Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson gave another underrated performance off the bench with 19 points. Every team needs instant offense in reserve, and Clarkson should be considered as that piece moving forward. He plays with guts and really only has one speed.

9. Yes, Sexton struggled to the tune of 11 points, 3-of-14 shooting and just one assist. But the rookie point guard had to chase around Blazers star Damian Lillard (21 points) most of the night. So I'll give Sexton a pass. I think the Cavs will be more worried if he's still having a lot of nights like Monday at this time next year. Now, though, they expect him to play like a rookie.

10. Larry Nance Jr. added 10 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench. I'd still like to see Marquese Chriss get a few more minutes, but that's nit-picking. It will just be a shame if he falls out of the rotation when Tristan Thompson returns from a bum ankle.

11. Canton GlenOak product and Blazers guard C.J. McCollum scored a game-high 35 points. He said anywhere from 60-100 supporters showed up to the game and he felt somewhat obligated to put on a show. McCollum delivered, making seven of his eight 3-pointers.

12. I would love to have 6o-100 supporters. I probably have that many haters. But supporters ... well, I'm probably closer to about seven.

13. For those of you who keep track of such things, former Cavs wing Rodney Hood had two points on 1-of-4 shooting for the Blazers. He played 18 barely noticeable minutes.

14. Overall, the Cavs put on a decent show in a game that should have been a blowout. They made a lot of fans on both sides sweat when they cut it to 92-90 in the fourth. Despite all the losing, they really do just need to keep doing what they're doing, get to the lottery in May and let the offseason fun begin.

15. You can read more on the Cavs and the game in my other story from Monday night. Check it out here.