Dribbles: Cavaliers Get All the Love They Need in Snapping Skid

Sam Amico

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers' impressive 117-109 overtime road win vs. the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday:

1. Jordan Clarkson held his baby daughter and laughed during the FOX Sports Ohio postgame interview. Kevin Love stood next to Clarkson, smiling widely. It was a good night all around, ending with the type of feeling the Cavaliers hadn't experienced in about a month.

2. For the second straight night, the Cavs scrapped and showed the grit that made everyone so proud through the first nine games. This time, finally, they came out on top.

3. They controlled the game in building a 13-point lead. Then they blew it after the Spurs went on a 19-5 run to start the fourth quarter. Then Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan stepped to the free-throw line to put the game away. He missed 'em both.

4. That opened the door for the Cavs. Love did the rest, nailing a 3-pointer to tie it 107-all with 7.5 seconds left, forcing the OT. "I knew it was going in," Cavs guard Collin Sexton told reporters. "He shoots those shots all the time in practice."

5. Love was outstanding in scoring 30 points and battling his way to 17 rebounds. Earlier in the week, he had suffered through a lousy three-game stretch. Then he missed a key shot Wednesday in a close loss to Houston. But against the Spurs, he delivered. An eight-game losing streak was snapped.

6. Nineteen of Love's points came in the first half. He didn't score a field goal until late in the fourth. The 3-pointer was his second of the half and this time, Love made it when it mattered.

7. We all know about the Love trade rumors. We all heard about the report that indicated some members of the Cavs were less-than-thrilled with coach John Beilein. Both of those stories came out on the same day. Since then, the Cavs have pulled it together, little-by-little, game-by-game.

8. Clarkson was equally fantastic. He entered Thursday third in the league in double-figure scoring nights by a reserve. He now has 20, tying Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams. 

9. Clarkson finished with 25 points -- driving into traffic, hitting threes, playing at one speed, refusing to lose. One of his shots was a reverse layup in traffic in which he wasn't even looking at the rim. He has become this organization's Sweet Lou.

10. Cedi Osman summed it up this way: "JC is a monster." Osman wasn't too bad himself, scoring 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting.

11. Sexton also had himself a time, scoring 28 points on 10-of-19 from the floor. He raced to the basket and pushed the tempo. He barely forced a thing. Along with putting the ball in the hole and keeping things moving, Sexton committed just one turnover. As Beilein told the media, "Down the stretch, we were very efficient with the ball."

12. Now, about Tristan Thompson. The FSO cameras showed Thompson and Beilein exchanging angry words at the end of the third quarter. Thompson never returned -- not in the fourth quarter, not in overtime. Instead, Beilein turned to John Henson and mostly, Larry Nance Jr.

13. Before Thompson’s dust-up with Beilein, Sexton dribbled down the court and fired up a three that bounced off the rim. Thompson stopped near the Cavs' sideline and looked over at the bench. It appeared to be a look of frustration. 

14. Sources told SI.com Beilein yelled for the players to get back on defense, but said nothing to Sexton about taking the shot. That may have been what agitated Thompson.

14. Either way, these exchanges between NBA players and coaches occur regularly. This one just happened to be on camera. Despite not playing at the end, Thompson enthusiastically cheered on his teammates from the bench.

15. Beilein was asked why Thompson never returned, and the coach only cited Nance's hustle near the basket. Nance was indeed relentless. While he didn't score, he pulled down 11 rebounds, including a few biggies at the offensive end. "Larry came in and did a really good job," Beilein said. "We decided to stick with Larry. He was giving us everything Tristan gave us."

16. So no harm, no foul, and even if there was a a little tiff, the Cavs still came out on top. Anyone in the locker room on a regular basis can see, if there is any dissension there, it's very well hidden. 

17. The Cavs (6-19) are going through a rebuilding process. Name the last time where everything went smoothly for a rebuilding team. Losing can wear on the men who do this for a living. And people who get fed up with losing can sometimes be on edge. 

18. Sexton on the night: "It felt great to get a win. We fought until the end. We know that no matter what, just keep fighting, keep playing together."

19. DeRozan led San Antonio with 21 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 10 boards. The Spurs (9-15) are a mess, falling to 7-7 at home. It's easy to start wondering how much longer legendary coach Gregg Popovich will want to do this.

20. For more on the game, check out the recap on SI.com right here.

21. Next up: The Cavs continue a three-game trip at Milwaukee on Saturday. This is a particularly bad time to play the Bucks, winners of 16 in a row.

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