After a humiliating loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs continued their roughest week of their NBA schedule as they hosted the the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the Spurs history of losing to quality NBA teams, history was not on the Spurs side. However, surprisingly the Spurs pulled out the victory over the Cavs. Final score: 102-97.
To dig deeper in this game, we turned to David Wooley of Stepien Rules, one of the best Cavs blog on the net and not to mention one of our Bloguin Brothers.
Cavs came out not looking like the best team in the NBA tonight. Did they play down to the Spurs?
A: To put it bluntly, yes. The Spurs are always a challenge for the Cavs because of two things: The similarity of their systems, and the three headed monster of Parker/Duncan/Ginobli. Problem is, Parker is out, and the Cavs came into this game without a lot of intensity. They really seemed to run out of gas in the 2nd half. The trend recently with the players' body language is that they are almost becoming bored with the regular season. This mindset is never a good thing, but they did rip off 8 wins in a row prior to last night's game.
Antawn Jamison had a good first half but was quiet in the second half. Was it something the Spurs did or was it all on him?
Pop is a great coach. I'm sure he made some adjustments defensively at halftime. The cavs offense overall was out of rhythm most of the 2nd half. Jamison has always been a streaky scorer, and with the Cavs tendency to default to LeBron in tight games, he usually doesn't get as many 2nd half opportunities either. I would have to say it is a little of both.
With Big Z back, I was expecting him to exploit the soft middle of the Spurs. Still too early to expect anything out of him since he has not been playing for some time?
Z has no back to the basket game or ability to score in the paint at this point in his career, so that may have been an unreasonable expectation on your end. In the rotation he is always paired up with Andy Varejao, and Andy went out with a tight hammy in the 2nd quarter. Those two oddly work well together on offense, with Z spreading the floor and looking for a 15-20 foot jump shot, and Andy cutting through the lane looking for layups. For the rest of the season Z is no more than a role player in the playoffs who can hopefully give us 10-20 solid minutes a game when his number is called. As long as he can offer some solid team defense and knock down the open jumper in playoffs he will meet all fan expectations. To answer your question, It will probably take the rest of the regular season until he is back to peak value within the team.
Cavs didn't get much from Mo Will and Delonte West. Is the front-court an area of concern for Cavs nation?
This is about as big of a concern that you can have when you're the best team in the NBA. Delonte has been killing it lately, so he is exempt from the concern at this time. However, Anthony Parker's defense on Manu Ginobli was far from effective, and he is only on the floor for his defense and spot shooting. Parker's played a lot more minutes this year than he expected, and it appears that it's catching up to him. If Maurice (Mo when he returns to all star form) doesn't shoot well he doesn't defend well either. Sometimes, Mike Brown needs to ignore his rotation minutes and adjust on the fly. When Mo's way off, put in Boobie Gibson. When Parker's getting dominated by Ginobli's bald spot, Jamario Moon and Delonte should be getting his time.
Mike Brown, Hank Egan, Danny Ferry, Lance Blanks. Seriously why not change the team name to the Cleveland Spurs!
If thats what it takes to get a championship, I'll be the first to lead the petition!