The Cavs outscored the Spurs by at least 10 points when every starter outside of LeBron James was on the floor. Tristan Thompson played inspired defense on LaMarcus Aldridge and displayed positive chemistry with Kyrie Irving in the pick and roll. Iman Shumpert continued his torrid shooting since being inserted into the starting lineup. Irving had 29 points on 22 shots, nine assists and just two turnovers.
For the most part, the Cavs played pretty darn well. It wasn’t enough. The Spurs took advantage of the Cavs bench to start the second and fourth quarters. A six point Cavs lead going into the fourth turned into a six point deficit, with the Cavs failing to get stops or rebound or take care of the basketball. Kyle Korver hasn’t consistently fit in quite yet, DeAndre Liggins, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson shared the court with James during those stretches, and it was ugly.
The Cavs were able to come back late in the fourth and force overtime, and LeBron James hit a 28 foot three pointer to get his team there, but they expended a lot of energy to do it. Kevin Love missed multiple wide open threes that might have helped the Cavs win it in regulation, but they just didn’t go down.
The San Antonio Spurs 118, your Cleveland Cavaliers 115.
There are lots of little things to pick at after a close loss against a great team. Irving appeared to have either run the wrong play or failed to get to the appropriate spot late in overtime, leading to a LeBron James turnover. The Cavs aren’t rebounding like they did a year ago, and that hurt them in the 4th quarter and overtime. The Cavs missed a bunch of free throws.
Ultimately, though, the Spurs went on two big runs against a Cavaliers bench that has ranged from mediocre to bad for much of the season. A year ago LeBron took lineups that largely included Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson and the Cavs blitzed teams. He hasn’t been able to do that with a different supporting cast this season. Time will tell how serious it is. In the meantime, the Cavs lose a fun, but disappointing game.