July 23, 2014

Cavs Take Care of Depleted Spurs

Eric Gay / AP

Eric Gay / AP

Cavs 97, Spurs 86 (Box Score)

So many times this season, I have been so caught up in the Cavs’ injury issues that I sometimes forget that the teams the Cavs get to play are rarely at full strength either.  Such was the case last night with the San Antonio Spurs.  I was still pondering defensive fortitude in a post-Ben Wallace universe and then the game started.  San Antonio had Tony Parker, but they were without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.

The San Antonio starting five consisted of Parker, Michael Finley, Kurt Thomas, Roger Mason, and Matt Bonner.  Those aren’t exactly the guys who are responsible for those banners in the rafters.  Still, they are a deep veteran team and they were playing at home.  If the Cavs had continued playing the way they did against Houston the night before, unable to shoot from pretty much anywhere on the floor, San Antonio easily could have made it a game.

But they didn’t really.  The Cavs jumped out to a quick first quarter lead of 27-13.  They gave back 7 in the second quarter losing that quarter 18-25 for a lead of 45 – 38.  Then the Cavaliers exploded in the third quarter, dropping a 32 on the board while holding San Antonio to 18.  From there Lebron was able to rest the entire fourth quarter with a big lead.

Speaking of James, he showed us another reason that he is the probable MVP this year.  A day after losing one of the biggest defensive rebound presences on the team, Lebron seemed almost obsessed with picking up the slack.  He finished the game with 14 boards, including 10 on the defensive end.  Combine that with the fact that he didn’t even play in the 4th quarter and that tells you all you need to know about his ability to know what this team needs and when.  Also, you will all be happy to know that he didn’t repeat his assist-less performance by dishing a modest 4 times last night in addition to his 30 points.

The rest of the Cavs’ performances last night were rather pedestrian.  Nobody else other than James seemed particularly effective.  Delonte scored 17 and rebounded pretty well, but he committed 5 turnovers.  Mo Williams was a modest 4 for 9 shooting.  Overall last night the Cavs were miserable from three converting just 7 of 21.  As you might imagine, that means Daniel Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak were largely ineffective in their shooters’ roles last night.  The Cavaliers’ sharpshooters were a combined 6 of 22 from the field, although they did go 4 of 10 from three point range.  So, in non three point attempts those two were 2 out of 12?

That, on most nights doesn’t seem like it will get the job done.  Then again when you are playing a team without its surefire hall of fame F/C and one of the most dangerous sniping shooters in the world in Ginobili, you don’t need to bring quite as much to the table.  Thankfully for the Cavs last night, that was the case.  And who would have thought that a night after Ben Wallace broke his leg, I could say that the Cavs’ relative health allowed them to win a game?

  • deep13

    Watching the game on ESPN, did anyone notice how completely and totally inept the sideline reporter seemed to be? Maybe she was just having a bad day, but it sounded like she was just introduced to the sport of basketball before the game.

    BTW – great win. Let’s hope we can carry the momentum through the rest of the trip.

  • Lyon

    I don’t watch the games on ESPN when they’re shown simultaneously on FSNOH. While Austin Carr is crazy, I’lltake their comments over there inane bantering of whoever is doing the national games.

    At times it looks like Delonte is still trying to get back into the groove. His step back shots are falling short, a sign his legs aren’t fully into game shape.

  • phil

    Delonte’s turnovers were a little high but a few seemed the product of sheer intensity. He’s still getting his timing and rhythm down, most likely. His intensity saw him penetrate well and excel on a breakaway. I look forward to seeing him come into form in what will surely be a momentous week heading up to and including the game in Boston.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    The highlight of the sideline reporters’ night was when she talked about the Ice Cube movie that will chronicle James’ childhood.

    These nights where LBJ doesnt have to play the fourth are going to wind up being huge in the end. The third string looked dreadful, but thankfully they were given a nice cushion with which to work.

    There was a point in that game in the third where LeBron was channeling a little MIL from behind the arc and then would not let anyone (regardless of team) pull down a defensive rebound. Impressive to say the least.

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