Notes, quotes and observations after the Cavaliers pulled out a 111-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

1. It was an important victory, no matter how hard the Cavs (6-7) had to work to put away the 2-11 Mavs. Progress is being made. The Cavs have played with better energy in four of the last five games, even though only three of those were victories. Jae Crowder is starting to look like the aggressive player he was in Boston. Kyle Korver, no longer content to stand on the perimeter and wait for the ball, came to the rescue with 13 fourth-quarter points.

2. But first the story that will be exploding when the Cavs land in New York Sunday for Monday night’s game at Madison Square Garden.

3. While the buzz surrounding the Knicks is all about Kristaps Porzingis, second in the league in scoring, LeBron James made a valiant attempt to put himself in the spotlight of the New York media and they will surely take the bait. He jabbed departed Knicks president Phil Jackson, forced out six days after the June 22 draft. James surely still harbors animosity over Jackson's comment in November, 2016 when he called James' business associates his "posse."

4. After watching point guard Dennis Smith Jr., the ninth overall pick in the draft, score 21 points with five rebounds and seven assists, James declared, “He should be a Knick.”

5. The Knicks passed on Smith, 19, with the eighth pick, instead taking guard Frank Ntilkina of France.

6. “The Knicks passed on a really good one,” James said of Smith, out of N.C. State. “Dallas got the diamond in the rough. He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. But Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there. He’s an unbelievable talent. His athleticism. He’s very poised to be his age. He can shoot the ball. Penetrate. He’s only going to get better and better with the opportunity that he’s getting here to play. So, Dallas got a good one. I’ve been knowing that. I’ve been with him for so long now so, I’ve been knowing his talent level.”

7. When it was pointed out that the Cavs are headed to New York next for the third of their four-game road trip, James said, “Yeah, yeah.”

8. While Kevin Love led the Cavs with 29 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes, he didn’t score in the fourth quarter. That didn't diminish what he did to keep the Cavs in the game. In the third quarter, he scored 15 points with seven rebounds and two assists and hit 6 of 8 from the field, 1 for 1 from 3-point range and 2 of 2 free throws. The Cavs ended that period ahead 83-74.

9. When the game was on the line, Korver carried the Cavs, along with James (six points in the fourth), Crowder (four), Jeff Green (three) and Iman Shumpert (two).

10. Korver said he lives for those moments, and he packed plenty into his 11 minutes and 24 seconds in the final period.

11. “It doesn’t matter if you start or don’t start, you want to play in the fourth quarter,” Korver said. “Over the course of my career I’ve been in both roles and you try to be someone who the team wants in there at the end of the game. I’ve always enjoyed playing those minutes and tried to take advantage of it.”

12. He had a chance for an and-one off a back-door cut on a James assist with 1:44 remaining, his basket putting the Cavs up 102-97, although Korver lamented he missed the free throw.

13. “We ran a set a bunch of times in a row,” Korver said. “We posted Bron and me and J.R. and Kevin kind of play off each other and try to do different things off that set. I felt, I’m trying to cut more to the basket this year and not just float around the outside. There’s been a couple games where there’s been some layups. Man, you get three layups, that helps your shooting percentage so much it’s amazing. If I got three layups every game...

14. “But anyway, just trying to be active and create energy out there and not just stand around and watch Bron go to work. We all have to help him out. We can’t keep on just putting him in isos and then just standing around. I think growth for us as a team is learning how to move without the basketball.”

15. With 36.8 seconds left, Korver went high to grab a one-handed rebound and landed hard, undercut by Yogi Ferrell. He made both free throws for a 106-102 advantage.

16. Asked about the tough landing, Korver said, “That’s why I try to stay down on the ground, let these other guys jump up there. I just box out. I needed to get that one so I went up there. I don’t know how high it looked, but I think he boosted me a little higher than I was. My elbow’s a little sore, my tail’s a little sore, so hopefully tomorrow I’ll be OK.”

17. Korver, 36, was asked if he had to check when he got up to make sure everything was working. “I’m still young. I’ve not no worries about that at all. It’s all good,” he said.

18. “Kyle is big time,” James said. “He’s someone that we rely on, especially when he’s on the floor. He’s just in the right place at the right time and hits big-time 3s. Also got an and-1 down the stretch. Just his movement, his body, his energy allows us to just keep defenses off kilter.”

19. But Korver’s biggest contribution may have been what he told Crowder at halftime.

20. Crowder scored 15 points, hitting 4 of 13 field goals and 1 for 6 on 3s, with seven rebounds in 35 minutes. His only trey came from the top of the key with 8:35 left in the third quarter.

21. “We shot a little bit and halftime and tried to talk through a couple things,” Korver said. “It’s one thing to just tell someone, ‘You’re going to make the next one.’ I hate that. Don’t you hate that? ‘Keep on shooting, make the next one.’ Yeah, whatever.

22. “When I do that, I think it’s important to give something, too. Just a little technique, tinkering, not a big thing, just a little thing that you can kind of think about. Kind gives you, ‘OK, I’m going to focus on this and now if I do this it’s going to go in.’ That’s what helps me thinking about my mechanics if I miss a couple. ‘But if I do this, the next one’s going to go in.’ So that’s what I try to do, talk to guys and not just say, ‘Be aggressive’ and all that nonsense.”

23. It’s not just Korver who is trying to help him, Crowder said.

24. “That’s what the team wants,” Crowder said of his aggressiveness against the Mavs. “LeBron always tells me to shoot the ball. ‘Don’t worry about stats, don’t worry about percentages. We know what you can do, just shoot the ball and be comfortable.’ I just think I’ve got to be more aggressive at both ends of the floor. When I’m aggressive on the defensive end it really helps me on offense.”

25. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Crowder was able to catch and drive because the Mavericks were putting centers on him.

26. “I thought rebounding the basketball, getting into the paint, was very active defensively. He did a good job on Harrison Barnes of being physical,” Lue said. “He had some open shots he still needs to take. If he’s open, we’ve got to shoot those shots and take them in rhythm.”

27. James liked what he saw from Crowder.

28. “If Jae is aggressive, I don’t care if he misses 100 straight shots, I want him to be aggressive and when the ball comes to him, look at the rim. Tonight, even when he was missing shots, he wasn’t as aggressive missing shots. In the second half, even though he missed shots, he started getting to the paint, getting to the free throw line, asserting himself and started to shoot the ball more. I want to be the one to kind of stay in his ear and let him know, like, ‘Listen, I want the Jae that I had to go against the last few years with him in Boston.’ So, he’s still finding his way and the rest of the guys are still finding their way too, the new guys. It’s a process.”

29. James scored 19 points with 11 rebounds and four assists, playing 42 minutes after re-aggravating his sprained left ankle Thursday in Houston. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle credited the defense of Wesley Matthews for James’ numbers.

30. “Wes Matthews played a great game defensively, so persistent, so smart,” Carlisle said. “He was able to stay on LeBron a majority of the time. They were trying to screen him and get us to switch, get him to make mistakes. He’s just so tough and so smart. He made it hard. LeBron still had a game, but he made it extremely tough on him.”

31. There is no underestimating the firestorm that a loss to the struggling Mavericks would have ignited. And the Cavs knew it as they pulled out a victory in what was a one-possession game with 36.8 seconds left.

32. “We’re just very resilient. I think we rely on just some of our championship habits from guys that were on the floor, but also just on trying to get back our mental toughness and figuring out how to win,” James said. “And that was great tonight. Defensively it was very in tune with the game plan. That’s two straight games where defensively we were just in tune and it results in a win for us tonight.”

33. Korver perfectly summed up the urgency of the Cavs’ situation as they won for the third time in five games. “We needed to get some wins for sure. I think the last few games we felt things kind of turning for us a little bit,” Korver said. “We’ve played better. We have a little ways to go, but the last few games I think we’ve played better. We needed to get some wins. Tonight in the second half, (we said) 'We have to win this game. This is not one you just get better at. We need to win this game.’ Yeah, we’ve got to string a few together.”

34. J.R. Smith said the victory "definitely means something. We’ve been losing to quote-unquote bad teams lately. To win against a good, bad or ugly, whatever team’s situation, is great for us."