Tim Duncan sat out his third straight game with soreness in his right knee, and David West slid into the starting lineup. West was involved right from the start as the Spurs wanted to exploit Kevin Love defensively. West muscled his way to two points in the Spurs first offensive possession, and then found Kawhi Leonard the next possession on a backdoor cut.
The Cavaliers picked up the pace in the first quarter, and new head coach Tyron Lue has said he wants to do, and got out to a 13-6 lead. Love was great early for Cleveland and had 14 points in the first. LaMarcus Aldridge was also aggressive with eight, but picked up three fouls in the opening quarter.
The Spurs found themselves down 37-30 after one. The pace was just too fast for San Antonio to keep up with. Those 37 points given up were the most the Spurs have allowed in any quarter all season.
The Cavs couldn't seem to miss from deep and extended the lead to 14 in the second quarter. The Spurs didn't have an answer for Kyrie Irving when Boris Diaw would switch onto him, and Cleveland took advantage of it. Diaw was forced to check out of the game.
The game slowed down a bit, but the Spurs just couldn't get a lot of good looks to fall, while the Cavs were scoring from all over the floor and got out to a 17 point lead. It was an extremely frustrating half. San Antonio allowed an inexcusable 66 points in the half. Duncan's absence was a big part of it, but the issues were much more than just that. The Spurs even tried a zone towards end of the second quarter. Nothing was working.
The Spurs looked better to start the second half and cut the lead to single digits, but still couldn't get some really good looks to fall on the offensive end and they just couldn't get over the hump. Every time the lead would be cut to 10, the Cavs would answer back and push it back up to 15.
Cleveland was cutting, getting out in transition, moving the ball, and finding open guys, and San Antonio never really found an answer. The Cavs had a 90-76 lead heading into the final quarter. LeBron James had 16 points in the third alone. It was not fun.
The fourth was nothing different. The Spurs didn't deserve to win this game. The Cavaliers did whatever they wanted offensively for essentially all 48 minutes. The Cavs out-shot, out-assisted, out-rebounded, and out-pretty-much-everything'd the Spurs. Danny Green was a virtual no-show. Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills shot a combined 3-for-14. It just wasn't pretty across the board.
So, the good guys lose and fall to 39-8 on the season. But hey, Spurs fans, at least we can use the "We didn't have Tim Duncan" excuse for this loss too. Let's hope he's healthy and good to go on Monday against Orlando.