Aside from a brief detour into sweaty-palms time during the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers mostly coasted with a wire-to-wire win. Cleveland never trailed after the opening minute, building and maintaining a healthy double-digit lead for the next three quarters. Their largest lead of the night was 21 points.
Though the Spurs rallied back to cut the lead down to four points, the Cavaliers swiftly responded and put the game out of reach in the closing minutes. The game felt more out of reach than it was, with Cleveland outpacing San Antonio from the jump.
They fell short of a double-digit victory tonight but have won by double-digits in five of their seven straight wins. The Cavaliers lead the league in double-digit victories, in what has become a reassuring trend for this young, dangerous team.
Jarret Allen’s two-way dominance
It was another beast-like performance from Allen. He was dominant on both sides of the ball against San Antonio and has been in a rhythm over his last seven games.
Allen finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks, setting the tone early by racking up offensive rebounds and shutting down the paint immediately. The Spurs scored just 50 points in the paint, below their average of 56.2 on the season.
This wasn’t an eye-popping statistical game for Allen but it comes during a stretch where he has recorded a double-double in six of seven games. He’s averaging 19.8 points and 11.4 rebounds during this run, giving the Cavaliers a boost by shooting above 74% from the floor.
Allen is the defensive anchor that keeps Cleveland grounded and when he’s rolling on offense, the Cavaliers are a difficult team to contain. He made himself available for numerous easy dunks tonight and punished the Spurs on the offensive glass for five rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell picking up the slack
The Cavaliers have grown accustomed to seeing Donovan Mitchell score the ball. Tonight was nothing new, with Mitchell pouring in his sixth 40+ point game of the season.
Mitchell was red-hot in the first half, drilling 5 three-pointers and helping to push the Cavaliers to their early lead. He kept applying pressure as San Antonio made their fourth-quarter run, closing the game by scoring 8 points and dishing 2 assists in the final seven minutes.
With Darius Garland scoring just 16 points on 0-4 shooting from the three-point line (7-13 overall), it was Mitchell who picked up the slack and kept the Cavs in the driver’s seat. This is also further evidence that Mitchell is feeling spry again, as he had recently struggled in his first three games since returning from a groin injury — but has since scored 29 or more points in three straight games.
Cleveland is 5-1 when Mitchell scores 40+ points and 16-4 when he scores at least 30. His scoring gives the Cavaliers a punch that few opponents can handle.
Up Next: The Cleveland Cavaliers head to Philadelphia on Wednesday to take on the Sixers for a showdown that will determine who holds third place in the conference heading into the All-Star break. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.