The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-10) were embarrassed on the road against the San Antonio Spurs (12-1) by a score of 126-96. Here are some things I observed about the tumultuous performance:
The first thing I noticed was that the Cavs are starting three guys who average fewer than six points per game. While it’s early and one of those guys is Andrew Bynum, It’s hard to imagine an offense with Alonzo Gee and Matthew Dellavedova being incredibly productive. Still, you would have to believe that a two-man game with Kyrie and Bynum would be worth trying more than they have so far.
The Spurs were five for eight on three pointers through the first three minutes of the second quarter. Almost all of their threes have been uncontested. They are a great passing team, but some of this is effort. You know they are going to do the skip passes, there’s no reason to be laying off the guys on the weak side.
Earl Clark then tried a drive to the hoop from about 30 feet out. There’s a lot of guys doing things that they really shouldn’t be doing. Kyrie keeps dribbling into triple teams, and Tristan Thompson has tried a couple of dribble drives. They need to find three or four set plays where everyone knows what to do and just keep running them until they get good at them.
The halftime score was 65-32. Cavs were outscored 35-11 in the second quarter. Since I have to watch the whole game, I’m trying to gain an appreciation of San Antonio’s execution, but if the Spurs were really as good as the Cavs are making them look, they would win 75 games this year.
The most (only) encouraging thing about the first half was the offensive moves made by Andrew Bynum. He had four or five really nice moves and is sinking the 10-foot jumpers, which he has been front-rimming in previous games.
In a game like this you have to wonder if we should see about 18 minutes of Anthony Bennett in the second half. Putting him on the floor for three or four minutes at a time like they have doesn’t give him a chance to find any rhythm. The Cavs need someone who can make a play on offense, and if Bennett ever wakes up he could make a difference. (Note – Bennett missed the whole third, but started the fourth and made four of five shots.)
The guy who seems out of position most on defense is Tristan Thompson. The Spurs have a lot of bigs who move without the ball, and Thompson wasn’t keeping up. The way the NBA is right now, a power forward needs to guard jump shooters as well as the interior.
The Spurs mostly played guys I haven’t heard of in the second half, and the Cavs did not make a serious dent in the lead. The most encouraging thing that happened was the play of Andrew Bynum. He made eight of 15 shots and looked as fluid as he has all year. Put him on the floor with a couple of jump shooters and the Cavs could have an actual halfcourt offense.
Cleveland will have a few days off before the Miami Heat (10-3) come to visit for the first time this season. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.