5 Quick Takes: Lack of second scorer plagues Cavs again

With LeBron James on the bench to start the fourth Sunday, the Spurs went on a 9-0 run in the first 100 seconds to take control.

Five quick takes after the San Antonio Spurs’ 110-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena…

1. The Kyrie Irving Effect continues to plague the Cavaliers. When LeBron James gets some well-deserved rest, Cleveland is simply not good offensively. With Irving in Boston, and with Kevin Love out for another month or so with his broken left hand, the Cavaliers simply don’t have a reliable second scorer and if the offense isn’t in transition mode, it grinds to a halt. After an 8-for-35 performance from the 3-point line in a home loss to Washington on Thursday, the Cavaliers (35-24) scattergunned their way to a 8-of-34 effort from 3 against the Spurs. “I don’t fault our effort,” James said. “Not tonight or the Washington game. I don’t fault our effort.”

2. The Spurs (36-25), who snapped a four-game skid as they finished a rugged six-game, 8,000-mile road trip, put this one away at the start of the fourth quarter. With James on the bench resting, San Antonio scored the first nine points to begin the final quarter, needing only 100 seconds to do so, extending what had been a 76-74 lead to an 85-74 advantage and was never headed.

3. Larry Nance Jr., wearing his dad’s No. 22 for the first time, had a solid first half, posting four points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot and was solid defensively against the Spurs’ focal point, LaMarcus Aldridge, helping to limit him (along with Tristan Thompson) to 2-of-8 shooting from the floor.

For some reason, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue barely called his number after halftime as Nance Jr. — despite having the best plus-minus (minus-1) of any guy in Lue’s 10-man rotation — played only 15 minutes, which tied rookie Cedi Osman for the fewest of the rotation guys. Saddled to the bench for most of the second half, Nance Jr. had zero points, zero rebounds, one assist and one block in the final two quarters.

4. Cleveland’s starting backcourt of George Hill and J.R. Smith were awful. Hill (2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block) and Smith (2 points, 2 rebounds) combined for four points, four rebounds, one assist and one block in 45 combined minutes. Throw in Osman (4 points on 1-6 shooting, 1 rebound) and starters not named James and Thompson (6 points, season-high 13 boards) accounted for eight points, five rebounds, one assist and one block in 50 minutes.

5. James, as per usual, attempted to put his teammates on his back, finishing with 33 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and a steal, shooting 14-of-25, in 40 minutes, marking the fifth time this season and the 37th occasion in his career he’s finished one board or one dime shy of a triple-double. The nine assists allowed him to pass Rod Strickland and move into 11th place on the NBA’s all-time assist list.

However, James also finished with a game-high six turnovers and his frustration, especially with the referees (he attempted only 4 free throws despite being in constant attack mode to the rack), picking up a technical foul. “There’s no reason I should be going to the line four times in a game when I drive 100 times to the paint and I’m getting hit and slapped and grabbed and whatever and what not,” he told reporters after the game. “We protect the shooter…. chicks dig the long ball.” For what it’s worth, the Cavaliers were whistled for 24 fouls, the Spurs 12.

2 Comments on "5 Quick Takes: Lack of second scorer plagues Cavs again"

  1. Aurora Dizon | February 25, 2018 at 9:33 pm |

    No more available shooters? Can we not trade Korver who is not a good defender and shooter(only once in a while can shoot). For God’s sake, how much more can we take or wait for him to be good.We will lose to Boston , Toronto and others. By playoff, Lebron is poof. Of course we cannot trade TT or JR, the King will get angry. This is blasphemy, maybe we should have trade him & not Kyrie. Love is not also dependable.Sorry, I am just frustrated.

  2. offense bogs down when LeBron is resting because LeBron doesn’t let anyone run it when he is on the court. Hill&Clarkson are capable but need to do more than dribble over timeline and hand ball to lebron. also Lues rotations stink. only effective offense against spurs was in second quarter with Nance on floor and pushing pace. what happened
    to Nance min. in second half? lastly,if J.R. is pouting and playing like crap,leave him in locker room. man up and be a pro!

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