Dribbles: It was a night only Cavs could have, a night for a win

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CLEVELAND -- Random dribbles from the Cavaliers' runaway of a 136-114 win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.

1. Prior to tip-off, acting coach Larry Drew said he was disappointed about his contract situation and power forward Kevin Love said he's unsure when he'll return from an injury to his left toe. Then the Cavs went out and won by 22, against a team that beat them by 22 in their home opener.

2. Only the Cavs, man. Only the Cavs.

3. Drew on the win: "My vision for this team, when we step between those lines, is that we commit to playing hard and we hold each other accountable. ... I'm very pleased not only with the outcome, but with the way we played."

4. The Cavs are now 1-6 (or just one game worse than LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, for those keeping score at home). Dating back to last season, they are 10-1 under Drew.

5. Maybe Drew will be named NBA Coach of the Year, without having the contract he wants. Or Acting Coach of the Year. Or Substitute Teacher of the Year. Whatever it is, the Cavs sure seem to play well when he's running things.

6. Granted, these are the Hawks we're talking about, and they are just fine with being bad. They are basically starting over -- and have both hands planted firmly on the wheel and the pedal to the metal as they speed toward another draft lottery. But for the Cavs, a win is a win is a win, and after so much losing, that first one can be tough to get.

7. This was Drew's first game after the firing of former coach Tyronn Lue on Sunday. "To be perfectly honest, I didn't know what was gonna happen tonight," Drew said. "But they came out, took the challenge and played well."

8. It was unquestionably Rodney Hood's best game in a Cavaliers uniform. He finished with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting, making all four of his 3-point attempts. Drew also praised Hood's defense.

9. Drew on Hood: "That's the Rodney Hood I know. Rodney is a passive guy by nature, that's who he is. But when he's aggressive like that, he's hard to defend."

10. Hood on Hood: "I got in a little bit of a rhythm last game and it carried over. I know I can continue to get better and I knew a game like this was bound to happen."

11. Cedi Osman started slow but came on strong to finish with 20 points. Osman has been so-so lately, so he needed a second half like the one Tuesday.

12. Rookie point guard Collin Sexton tied his season-high with 28 minutes and ended up scoring a season-high 17 points to go with a season-high eight rebounds. About the only thing that wiped the smile off his face after the game was when I asked him if he was ready for the Northeast Ohio winters.

13. Like most of the Cavs, Sexton called this a team win, implying that the offense flowed better than it had all season. "The ball was just moving and we got open looks," he said. "It was a thing of beauty."

14. Added Larry Nance Jr. (nine points): "I thought we played a lot more unselfishly. Hopefully, we can learn from that and carry it over."

15. The Cavs forced 22 turnovers, resulting in 28 points. "When you talk about our defensive philosophy and schemes, the one thing we wanted to be was the aggressor," Drew said. "We can't sit back on our heels and let them bring the fight to us."

16. Jordan Clarkson added 16 points, Sam Dekker had 12 in his best game with Cleveland, and Tristan Thompson went for 11 points and 13 rebounds.

17. Thompson has been the Cavs' vocal leader, someone who's not been afraid to speak the truth. He was pleased with this one. "I feel better because we got a win," he said. "We don't have the All-Star, one-on-one players. Tonight, we started to trust each other more and we're gonna have to continue to do that."

18. Rookie point guard Trae Young again led the Hawks with 24 points. The kid is already special. He may not play with the same edge, but he sure brings back memories of a young Allen Iverson. The Hawks (2-5) also received 22 points from center Alex Len, who went 9-of-9 shooting.

19. By the way, Love met with reporters before the game and couldn't give many answers on his injured left toe. It sounds like he'll miss at least another two weeks, maybe more. "Still figuring things out," Love said, wearing a walking boot. "It’s disheartening. I want to be out there.”

20. Finally, the Cavs are exploring the market for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver (three points, three rebounds) and have sent J.R. Smith back to bench. Smith isn't happy. I have more here.