Jarrett Allen and Lauri Markkanen had career highs in scoring during Monday night’s game. For their second straight win, the two led the Cavs past the Dallas Mavericks for an impressive 114-96 win on the road.
The Cavs dominant win lifts them above the .500 mark, giving them an 11-10 win-loss record. The team is now tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
The test for this young team continues Wednesday on the road as they face the 13-8 Miami Heat. The Heat have one of the best home records in the league (at 6-2). After Miami, the Cavs face the Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, the defending Champions, Chicago Bulls, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. All these teams are above .500 or among the top of their conferences.
The Timberwolves are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, winning eight of their last ten games.
Four of the next six games for the Cavs are on the road.
The upside to the Cavs’ upcoming games on the road is their 6-4 record. It takes arduous work, togetherness, excellent communication, chemistry, and focus to stay above .500 on the road.
Another upside is rookie Evan Mobley’s return from a sprained right elbow two nights ago. He gives the Cavs much-needed rim protection down the middle.
This is promising news as the Cavs move forward in their most challenging schedule of the season. To have their front-court core intact gives them the best chance to continue exceeding expectations this season.
Then there is the impressive play of forward Lauri Markkanen. Since his return to the team, he’s averaging 20 points, eight rebounds per game, shooting 42% from three-point range over the past four games.
What is most exciting about the Cavs’ play this season is their contribution from every position. It’s going to take a balanced assault plus having the next-man-up mentality to establish a team identity – getting the team within playoff contention in the East. Now we will really see what these guys are made of.
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