What We Learned: Cavs vs Spurs


The Cavs faced off against the Spurs on Thursday night in what turned out to be the most exciting game of the season. Cleveland was able to erase a late deficit in the fourth quarter thanks to a huge night from Kyrie Irving to pick up the 128-125 win in overtime. Here’s what we learned.

The Cavs can win even when their opponent shoots 56% from the field. The defense was awful against the Spurs. San Antonio was able to get whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Fortunately for Cleveland Kyrie scored 57 points and atoned for the lack of defense, but still you aren’t going to win many games when you give up easy looks like the Cavs did Thursday night. Let’s hope this isn’t a trend that continues.

Kawhi Leonard couldn’t seal the game on the line for the Spurs. Leonard had a chance to end the game by making one of two free throws with 4 seconds left, but he couldn’t. He missed them both and left the door open for Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. Once again we’ve seen how free throws can make the difference between victory or defeat. On Thursday night free throws lost the game for Leonard and the Spurs.

LeBron plays better against the Spurs without a headband. We all know LBJ’s history against the Spurs isn’t exactly the best. That being said, two big victories against them came while he wasn’t wearing a headband. Does anyone remember game six of the 2013 NBA Finals? Well if you don’t here’s a reminder. Late in the fourth quarter LeBron got his headband knocked off and finished regulation without it. The Heat were able to pull off a miraculous comeback and win the championship because of it. Thursday’s game didn’t have the same implications, but he still won and he still wasn’t wearing a headband. The King had a solid game and finished with 31/7/5.

James Jones is getting some questionable minutes. I’m a fan of James Jones, but he shouldn’t be playing almost 20 minutes in a game like this. I like his 3 point shooting ability and how he stretches the floor, but he shouldn’t be closing out the game for the Cavs.

The Dynamic Duo can carry the Cavs to victory. LBJ and Kyrie combined for 88 of the Cavs’ 128 points on Thursday. The Cavs weren’t able to get consistent scoring from anyone else. The only two other players finishing in double figures were Thompson and Mozgov with 12 and 10 points respectively. LeBron and Kyrie showed us that they can carry the team to victory, even when other players aren’t having their best games.

Kyrie Irving can be unstoppable. The Spurs couldn’t do anything to stop Uncle Drew on Thursday night. He hit two clutch 3s to send the game to overtime, including a buzzer beater right in Kawhi Leonard’s face. Uncle Drew finished with a career high 57 points on 20 of 32 shooting. He was also deadly from behind the arc and made all 7 of his shots from deep. Kyrie also showed us he can be the closer on the team. LeBron did play well in the clutch on Thursday night, but it was Kyrie who had the last shot.

The Cavs have the heart of champions. Good teams find a way to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s exactly what the Wine and Gold did in San Antonio. They found a way to win, against all odds. They were trailing by 7 with just over a minute to play, but that didn’t deter them. They kept fighting. That’s what champions do, they never give up. I’m not saying the Cavs are going to win the championship, but they showed us that they have what it takes to do it.

Player of the Game: Uncle Drew (57 points, 5 assists, 3 boards, 2 steals, and 1 buzzer beater).

The Cavs will be back in action Sunday night against the Orlando Magic. It’s a good time to be a Cavs fan.

– Jackson Flickinger

pic credit Cleveland.com

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