Cavaliers Notes: Game 2 Win, Bickerstaff, Wade, Allen

The Cavaliers may have a shot at a second-round upset after discovering a formula for beating the Celtics in Game 2, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Cleveland, which was burned by Boston’s three-point shooting in the series opener, concentrated on eliminating open looks from beyond the arc. On offense, the Cavs made a greater effort to get the ball to Evan Mobley, who had plenty of room to operate near the basket with Al Horford assigned to guard Isaac Okoro.

Cleveland also found a way to diversify its offense, which was dominated by Donovan Mitchell in Game 1 and throughout the Orlando series. Mitchell only had six points on six shots at halftime before taking over in the second half to finish with 29.

The result was a surprising 24-point victory for a team that came into the night as a double-digit underdog and was considered by oddsmakers to be nearly an even-money prospect to get swept, Vardon notes.

“It (speaks to) the togetherness of the group, the resilience of the group and the importance of winning to them,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “That’s the most important thing to the guys. There is nothing else that matters. There is no other agenda. We’ve got playoff games in front of us that we need to win.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Speculation about Bickerstaff’s future started early, according to Vardon, who states that it was “hot chatter” around the league for the first two months of the season. Vardon cites a home loss to Portland on November 30, which was followed by a trip to Detroit. Multiple sources tell Vardon that Bickerstaff would likely have been fired if the Cavs had lost to the Pistons, but they won three in a row and saved his job.
  • Dean Wade, who has been sidelined since March 8 with a sprained right knee, will be available for tonight’s Game 3, tweets Ethan Sands of Starting center Jarrett Allen will miss his sixth straight game with a rib injury.
  • In a discussion of the Pelicans, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and William Guillory of The Athletic speculate that New Orleans would have interest in Allen if the Cavs decide to explore trade options this summer. They believe the Pelicans would like to upgrade from center Jonas Valanciunas, and Scotto notes that Allen played for general manager Trajan Langdon when he was an executive with Brooklyn.
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