Jarrett Allen, hyper efficient
Jarrett Allen hasn’t been at his 2021-22 All-Star peak for much of this year. It’s not that he’s been bad, but his shooting numbers are down from last season. He’s not been the finishing monster he was last year.
Wednesday, though, was Allen back to that form. He finished X-X from the field, scoring on a mix of post-ups, vicious dunks right at the rim and shots given to him in the middle of the floor. That’s the mix that elevated him up a level last year.
The Cavs don’t necessarily need him to be that Allen again night in and night out — trading for Donovan Mitchell means that the scoring burden on everyone else is lessened. But getting Allen back to his best self raises the ceiling on this Cavs team. If he gets back to his elite finishing, it can take the level up another level.
Welcome back, Dean Wade
The Cavs missed Dean Wade while he missed time with a knee issue. He provides a mix on the wing that none of Cleveland’s other wing options really provide. Wade’s not great in any one area, but he’s all-around dependable. In 18 minutes, Wade finished with 4 points and 3 rebounds — not world-beating numbers, but enough for what Cleveland needed for him.
It’s good for the Cavs to get some positive injury news at the moment too. Kevin Love (who sat on Wednesday as he’s dealing with his hairline thumb fracture) has less on his plate with Wade back and Caris LeVert is still out with an ankle sprain. Wade is needed quality depth as the Cavs work on navigating this 82-game marathon.
Taking care of business
The Cavs, in picking up an 18-point win, took care of business against Damian Lillard-less Portland team. They won fairly easily, leading by as many as 20 points and leading for nearly 40 minutes of a 48-minute game. (They covered too, for those interesting in the gambling aspect of it.)
Here’s why that matters: Cleveland needs to rack up wins when they present themselves. They had the hot start, then a five-game losing streak and are now on a four-game winning streak. The current streak, all at home, has been the Cavs taking care of the business in front of them. That’s taken away any of the bad energy from the losing streak and concerns coming out of those losses.
The winning streak takes the Cavs into a small road trip with games at Milwaukee, at Detroit and at Toronto. Continue taking care of business there and Cleveland remains up in the top of the Eastern Conference around one-fourth of the way through the season.
Up next: On Friday, the Cavs kickoff the aforementioned road trip in Milwaukee against the Bucks. Last time Cleveland played in Milwaukee, they lost 113-98. Tipoff for round two is at 8 p.m.