The Spurs closed their three-game road trip with a overtime 132-129 loss in Cleveland. DeMar DeRozan led San Antonio in scoring with 25 points while Dejounte Murray finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals. Andre Drummond had 28 points and 17 rebounds for the home team.
It was another slow start for the Spurs, which found themselves down double digits early and trailed by 17 after the first quarter. Things were looking dire, but unlike what happened in Brooklyn on Friday, San Antonio remained frisky on defense and took advantage of a sloppy opponent to remain in striking distance after the first two periods, trailing by only 10 points at the break.
A strong start of the second half, largely fueled by Dejounte Murray, helped San Antonio erase the deficit and take the lead for the first time in the game. Unfortunately Cleveland recovered and both teams largely traded buckets for the rest of the period. The fourth quarter was close throughout, as neither squad could really impose its will. The Cavaliers were close to securing the win on two made Collin Sexton free throws with three seconds to go but a Rudy Gay jumper sent the game to overtime.
Ultimately Cleveland’s size tipped the scales in the end. The Cavaliers controlled the paint on both ends and managed to close the game, as the Spurs’ offense went dry at the wrong time and there were no Gay heroics to save them for a second time.
- After going small against Brooklyn, the Spurs went back to a more traditional lineup, as Drew Eubanks replaced Derrick White in the starting unit in hopes of matching better with the Cavs’ size. It didn’t work. Eubanks got into foul trouble early and Cleveland, which is missing some rotation guards and went ultra big with Larry Nance Jr. at small forward at times, kept finding mismatches inside when Gregg Popovich had Trey Lyles at center. The Cavs also owned the glass throughout, even though Tristan Thompson couldn’t play in the second half and Andre Drummond barely played in the third.
- Speaking of Drummond, he was a beast inside but has one of the least aesthetically pleasing three-point stroke I’ve ever seen. I get why he’s using this lost season to figure out if he can shoot from outside, but it’s not looking good.
- Keldon Johnson once again got rotation minutes in the absence of both Marco Belinelli and Lonnie Walker IV and continued to impress. His slashing ability is a nice addition to the rotation. The man just puts his head down and muscles his way inside, not shying away from contact. His physicality on both ends is encouraging.
- DeMar DeRozan remains among the league leaders in technical fouls after getting called for yet another one for complaining to the officials. He had a point, since Matthew Dellavedova appeared to had fouled him, but DeMar needs to do a better job of controlling his frustration. Fortunately Sexton missed the freebie that resulted from the tech.
- Dejounte Murray was everywhere on defense and took over the game for a few possessions in the third quarter. Dejounte might not be a good playmaker or finisher yet, but the rest of his game is well-rounded and allows him to make an impact on different ways. Now he just needs more consistency.
- Rudy Gay made some huge buckets late in the fourth. When his three-pointer is falling, Rudy is still a matchup nightmare for most teams.
For the Cavaliers fans’ perspective, visit Fear the Sword.
The Spurs will return to San Antonio to host the Mavericks on Tuesday and kick off a three-game homestand. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. CST and the game will be televised by TNT.