One of the cool things about living on Earth is that the sun is always firing on all cylinders and keeping you warm even though it's roughly a billion or something years old. I imagine this is what coaching the Spurs is like.
The Cavs exploded on San Antonio in the first half, getting a good share of easy looks, and making the terrible ones too (Hi J.R.). The scored 50 points in the half. That's a high for the Spurs this season. The Spurs that had not lost at home. Yes, you probably could tell this wouldn't be that easy going forward.
Things didn't completely dry up in the second half, but the Cavs were working decidedly harder for their points. The bench, which was shaky in the first half, completely fell apart. Timofey Mozgov and Richard Jefferson were particularly ineffective, with Mozgov throwing away seemingly all positive momentum from his big game in Dallas. Matthew Dellavedova landed a few lobs to Tristan Thompson and hit a three in the first half, but was a comedy of errors in the second. Iman Shumpert was... well he was on the court, probably. On the other side, the Spurs seemed to get a good game from every bench player, especially David West (13 points, five rebounds, +16).
That all sounds terrible, but the Cavs somehow lost by only four. Moral victories don't exist, but there are worse things than losing to an undefeated team at home in a close game where you just couldn't seem to hit a shot. A lot of that is the Spurs, of course, but there were quite a few looks the Cavs just gagged on. The Cavs starters were mostly great tonight . 17 points from JR Smith. 18 points and 14 rebounds from Tristan Thompson. 22 from LeBron. 10 points and 12 rebounds from Kevin Love. Without getting anything from the reserves though, it wasn't enough, and most everyone looked gassed at the end. Especially Love, who had contests ranging from good to non-existent as the Spurs picked on him in crunch time.
So where do they go from here? certainly you don't make major decisions based on one game, but there are some concerns:
- Is Timofey Mozgov ever going to be dependable this season? Can he get out of his own way? He doesn't have a huge track record of it in the NBA, but he was so good last season that it's hard to give up on him. The Cavs should really probably start keeping track of capable replacements though. Mozgov's struggles tonight really put David Blatt in a crunch as far as lineups and rest went. Things like Richard Jefferson at the four, Love playing 37 minutes, and Tristan Thompson 35 in a game with this kind of intensity really started to show later on.
- The Cavs reserve point guards in a finals series against the Spurs are concerning. Tony Parker and Patty Mills are a bad matchup for the slower footed Dellavedova, and well.... we know what that means for Mo Williams. As far as creating offense while your stars rest.... well maybe we'll tackle that another day.
All in all it was a great game to watch, as Cavs Spurs always is. The Cavs will be in Houston tomorrow to finish off their six game road trip, and we'll see you then.