The Cleveland Cavaliers fell apart in the second half, allowing the San Antonio Spurs to come away with a 110-94 win. It was a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde performance for the team, as they seemed like they were in control for a lot of the first half, but were a disorganized mess during the second.
In one of their better defensive efforts of the season, the Cavs did a great job containing the Spurs in the first half. While there were a few breakdowns, the energy was outstanding and there was considerably more resistance than we are accustomed to seeing.
Outside of LeBron James, who was sensational, the biggest standouts in the first half were their tandem of centers. Larry Nance Jr. was incredible, impacting the game on the defensive end and leading fastbreaks. While Tristan Thompson bounced back from a horrific performance by pulling in offensive rebounds, and playing solid defense on LaMarcus Aldridge. Nance should be getting more minutes than Thompson at this point, but it was nice to see both of them come up with positive production.
The Cavs probably would have had a bigger lead at half, if it wasn’t for a disastrous stretch for J.R. Smith. Smith was a mess defensively and provided nothing on the offensive end. It was tougher to find an alternative for him before the trades, but with Clarkson and Hood on the bench, Tyronn Lue needs to have a quicker hook.
Speaking of Lue, the second half was probably one of his more head-scratching performances in recent memory. The starters were left in too long, giving up any momentum the team had built to end the first half. Then to start the fourth, elected to go with Jeff Green at center over Nance or Thompson, when both had played well. Most non-LeBron wings struggled this afternoon, so it’s hard to put it all on Lue. But the rotation management was poor and the team wasn’t put in position to succeed.
- The starting lineup could use a change. There just isn’t enough offensive firepower there, especially if George Hill is struggling or not assertive. Starting Hood and/or Nance would likely breathe life into the lineup, as this current version just kills momentum. A lot of these issues wouldn’t be present if Kevin Love was in for Cedi Osman, but the Cavs will need to wait awhile for that.
- Kyle Korver, Smith and Green all struggled in a big way this afternoon. Given their struggles, they probably all played far too many minutes. It is impossible to justify Nance only getting 15 minutes, while these three all played over 20.
- To make matters worse, the team simply didn’t get many breaks in terms of bounces or the whistle.
- Both Jordan Clarkson and George Hill need to be more responsible with the basketball. They’ve been loose with their dribble lately and it’s either lead to turnovers, or disrupted the flow of the offense.