San Antonio Spurs 103
Cleveland Cavaliers 74
Just a few games after the Cleveland Cavaliers allowed 73 points in the first half against the Denver Nuggets, they scored just 74—a season low—against the San Antonio Spurs during a stretch where fans and critics alike were merely searching for a sign of life. The Cavs were obliterated on both ends of the floor, missing open shots and simply refusing to play defense. There was a stretch in the game where a 39-year-old Manu Ginobili beat the entire Cavaliers team down the floor in transition for an easy two points. According to ESPN’s Stats & Info department, the 74 points is the lowest for a LeBron James-led Cavaliers team since 2009.
No member of the Cavaliers played well as Kyrie Irving had just four made field goals to go with three turnovers. J.R. Smith continues to look lost on offense, at one point clanging a turnaround three-point attempt off the side of the glass. Kevin Love made just one of his five uncontested shots. And LeBron James left midway through the second half after experiencing what looked like a stinger while attempting to get an offensive rebound. Only two Cavaliers had double-digit scoring totals, and LeBron James was your team leader with 17.
Following the game, James was seen having a “very deep conversation” with Irving who later took to the floor to get in some postgame work.1 The Cavs are not in a good place right now, with March looking more like January, a month that saw the team go below .500. Since the All-Star Break, they’re the second-worst defensive team in basketball2 and are showing very little in the way of ability to right the ship. They have yet to hold a team under 100 points on the road all season, and just saw their standing among the Eastern Conference drop to No. 2, sitting a half-game back of the Boston Celtics.
“With the way we’ve been struggling, this is the last team you want to play—they exploit everything you’re not doing well,” said James following the game. “It’s not frustrating, it’s just something you have to figure out. We’re a veteran ball club who wants to do something special–again. We have a couple days until we get back at it.”
When asked about his injury, James succinctly responded with “I’ll be ready by Thursday.”
26th – The Cleveland Cavaliers’ rank in terms of overall speed on the defensive end of the floor according to SportVu.
30th – Or: Dead last. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ rank in terms of overall speed on the offensive side of the floor according to SportVu.
When asked after the game if his team’s lack of speed is due to a lack of athleticism or overall fatigue, Cavs head coach Ty Lue responded with “probably both.”
15.4 – The Cavaliers’ percentage from three-point land on the night. Remember this chart? You know, the one where the Cavaliers were in the top-right quadrant? This was the exact opposite with LeBron James, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving, and Channing Frye combining to go 2-for-20 from long distance. This, my friends, will not win you many basketball games.
6-of-30: Take it away, Stats & Info…
Kawhi Leonard: more unassisted FG than Cavs have as a team. Leonard is 7-13 on shots w/o an assist opportunity, Cavs are 6-30 on such shots
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 28, 2017
2 — The number of bench points the Cavaliers had until 2:23 left in the third quarter after Richard Jefferson hit a three from the right wing. The scary part? Those two points came on the previous possession when LeBron James found Channing Frye for a turnaround hook shot. While the Cavs shot just 37.3 percent for the night, Jefferson, Deron Williams and Derrick Willams combined to go 3-for-14 from the floor.
At least 2 — Pretty embarrassing moments by Kay Felder who, at one point, traveled at the top of the three-point line while having nary a Spur defender within five feet of him only to later pay zero attention to the shot clock in a later possession, turning the ball over in the process.
Super weird — This quote by LeBron James: “First of all, you have to take every shootaround and film session, and every opportunity to be together very seriously. If that’s what we want to do—win a championship—we have to have that mindset every single day, on the floor and off the floor. You have to carry that with you every day. If it’s making sacrifices for yourself, or for the benefit of the team, taking away things that you love to do but feel like you have to be committed more to the team, so be it.”
4 — The number of time zones the Cavs have played in over their last four games.
4 — The number of times this Cavaliers team will have to lose to the same opponent within a seven-game stretch come mid-April. Say what you want about their current state, but it’s tough to see any team being able to do so when you give this roster of players and this head coach days to prepare for one specific task.
There's a moment every regular season when you wonder if you should sell all that LeBron stock. Tip: Don't
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) March 28, 2017