The Cleveland Cavaliers, without their three best players in Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, and Evan Mobley, erased a 20-point deficit on the road to beat the Dallas Mavericks 113-110. Cleveland was paced by Caris LeVert (29 points, seven assists) and Jarrett Allen (24 points, 23 rebounds, six assists), though they got some great contributions from Isaac Okoro and Craig Porter Jr. as well. Here are some postgame thoughts on without a doubt the wildest and best win of the season for the Cavs.
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The butt of many Cavs jokes over the last several years has usually ended in “something something Isaac Okoro can't shoot”, but that was not the case tonight. Okoro was fantastic shooting the basketball, including 4-7 from deep and 7-13 overall. He hit his usual corner threes, but also made some smart cuts as well to keep the offense moving.
Okoro’s offensive development has been discussed for what feels likes half a decade at this point, but there is reason to believe that he has turned a bit of a corner. He looks a lot more comfortable shooting the basketball, getting to his spots, and has a better feel for what to do when he does not have the ball in his hands. Even when the starting lineup gets back to full strength, Okoro has earned himself consistent playing time.
Another dominant Jarrett Allen game
In a game where he should play well against a poor rebounding team starting a rookie center, Jarrett Allen did what he should do: dominate. Allen was unstoppable with 24 points, 23 rebounds, and six assists, continuing his string of excellent play when the Cavs need him most.
Allen stuffed the stat sheet, but his defense on Luka Doncic in the second half dramatically changed the game. The Cavs doubled Doncic with Allen and, on the final possession, it proved to be too much to overcome. Doncic scrambled and was forced to give it up to Seth Curry who had his three-pointer blocked by Max Strus. Allen’s ability to defend in space and on the perimeter was on full display against one of the best offensive players in the league and directly impacted the game.
Caris LeVert doing his thing
Yeah, Caris LeVert can be a frustrating player. But make no mistake, when he is on a heater it is difficult to defend. LeVert was a three-level scorer tonight, going 6-11 from three-point land, getting to the rim, and making his usual contested pull-up mid-range shots. He was lights out in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 29 points in the final frame. LeVert also had seven assists, something that cannot be discounted either. Him and CPJ paced the offense as the primary playmakers.
Caris LeVert scored 15 of his 29 PTS in the 4Q as the Cavs stormed back to win in Dallas pic.twitter.com/SaSlSVEOgi— NBA (@NBA) December 28, 2023
Up next: The Cavs return home to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Tip-off is at 7:30 pm on Bally Sports or NBA TV.