I didn’t expect the Cavs to win either or both of these road games this weekend. So when they came out firing on offense during the first quarter Saturday night in San Antonio, I was pleasantly surprised.
Mo Williams led the way early, making a valiant attempt to set the tempo for his road squad. In his second game back, he went for 11 in the opening period on 4 of 6 from the field.
Daniel Gibson added six of his own in the first quarter off the bench, and even Danny Green came in and knocked down a three. Wait, what? Anthony Parker - Cavalier – hit his first shot of the game as well, and the Cavaliers converted on their final six possessions of the period to take a 29-28 lead into that commercial break between quarters. An encouraging moment of the broadcast.
That wouldn’t last much longer though. After knocking down his first jumper with authority, Anthony Parker wouldn’t hit another one all night and finished with 2 points on 1 of 5 shooting. J.J. Hickson looked lost for most of the game on both ends of the floor, finishing with 6 points and 5 rebounds, and at the end of the day the Cavaliers would get blown out by 24 by a team with NBA title aspirations who is now 11-1.
Generally speaking, the remaining three quarters were rough for Cleveland and there were an assortment of things that went wrong. I know right, there usually is when you lose by 20, great analysis.
They couldn’t defend Matt Bonner on the pick and roll for some reason, and he stepped out and hit four threes. Tony Parker did whatever he wanted for the Spurs, scoring a team high 19 points along with 9 assists and 5 rebounds, and that didn’t help much either. All in all, the Cavaliers would go on to lose the 2nd quarter by 8, third quarter by 7, and fourth quarter by 10. So yeah, the one point ”getaway” after the opening session proved to be not quite enough.
Statistically, one Cavs’ starter finished in double figures (Mo – 21 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds) as compared to three Spurs starters (Parker 19 / Jefferson 14 / Ginobilli 13). Two Cavalier bench players got into double digits (Gibson 17 pts / Jamison 12 points) as compared to three players off SA’s bench (Splitter 18 / Bonner 12 / Neal 10). Anderson Varejao posted a stat line that read 8 points 9 rebounds which was matched exactly by DeJuan Blair who finished with those same totals in about 5 less minutes. Christian Eyenga was inactive for the contest. Tim Duncan only scored 8, but it didn’t matter, as the Cavs fall now to a record of 5-7.
It gets easier from here though, somewhat. The Cavaliers, on now a two-game quest to get back to even, head to Indiana on Tuesday and then back home for the Bucks on that Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The Pacers are 5-6, Bucks 5-8, so certainly more winnable opportunities than the last two times out.
Not gimmies though by any stretch, and in fact there are no gimmies for this team. Gotta play better in all phases from top to bottom if they hope to get right over the next week. This weekend was a good measuring stick though to be sure against these two teams with the two best records in the Association, so hopefully there’s some things that can be identified and corrected.
The season long process of improvement continues Tuesday, hopefully. Glad this weekend is over.