For the second game in a row, the Spurs did something they’ve struggled with all season: put away a lowly East team. After blowing out the Washington Wizards on Friday, the Spurs came into their final road game of the regular season in Cleveland looking to build on that momentum as the playoffs draw ever so near. A strong second quarter gave the Spurs all the separation they needed, and they cruised to a 112-90 victory over the Cavaliers.
Five Spurs scored in double figures, led by 18 from LaMarcus Aldridge. Brandon Knight led five Cavs in double figures with 16.
- This was Channing Frye’s final home game of his career as he heads into retirement this summer. He got the start and fittingly hit his first three of the game in front of the pumped up home crowd he had helped win a championship for in 2016. It was a nice moment for the consummate professional and one of the more beloved teammates in the NBA.
- For once someone besides Pop got an early technical. This time it was Larry Nance Jr. during a timeout break midway through the first quarter. It didn’t look like much, so he must have muttered a magic word that shouldn’t be said on a Sunday.
- Marco Belinelli was dressed after sitting out the last game with a sore hip, but Lonnie Walker IV still got his first-half minutes. It looks like Walker is gaining some trust from Pop, and he did not disappoint with a nice pick-and-roll dish to Jakob Poeltl and some good contesting on defense. He’s looking more and more like he belongs out there. Beli did play in the second half, although he was not his usual twisting, contorting self.
- The Spurs appear to be returning to winning-streak form, playing like they’re the better team and they know it, pushing to build leads instead of simply maintaining them. After tying the first quarter, for the second game in a row the Spurs dominated the second quarter, this time outscoring the Cavs 38-22.
- Rudy Gay received a technical in third quarter for what the ref assumed was him crabbing about a foul call. Apparently, he was just mad at himself, but the official misunderstood. The handling of technicals have been so inconsistent this season, and the gap between the amount of complaining allowed by superstars compared to everyone else has never been wider. It’s something the NBA will need to address this summer, but they probably won’t. At least in this case, the ball didn’t lie. Jordan Clarkson missed the free throw.
- About the only thing to complain about in this game was turnovers, and the Spurs had 9 of their 18 in the third quarter. Fortunately the Cavs were not much better, so the Spurs merely maintained their halftime lead instead of it being too costly. They won’t always be so lucky and can’t afford such lapses in the playoffs.
- After all the complaining that was done over the last few weeks, it has been good to see the role players come around over the last few games. Derrick White, Patty Mills, and Davis Bertans have all broken out of shooting slumps, and Bryn Forbes has been solid all April. Those four combined for 49 points today, along with a number of other contributions, and that’s exactly what the Spurs will need from them to make some noise in the playoffs.
- Believe it or not, with a 16-25 road record the Spurs actually beat last season’s 14-win mark away from the AT&T Center. Improvement is improvement, right? With a win on Wednesday, they’ll also surpass last season’s 47 total wins: something few saw coming before this season began.
For the Cavs fans’ perspective, visit Fear the Sword.
The Spurs are heading home for their regular season finale against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday with plenty still on the line. Between that, Fan Appreciation Night, and what may or may not be the final game of Dirk Nowitzki’s illustrious career (which is reportedly bringing plenty of international media to the game), it promises to be plenty interesting. Tip-off will be at 7:00 PM on KENS 5.