What we learned from the Spurs win over the Cavaliers

Defensive effort in the second half surged San Antonio past the Cavaliers.

The San Antonio Spurs snapped their four-game losing streak on Sunday, bouncing back to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-94. After trailing 53-50 at the half, the Spurs used a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to race away with the road win. San Antonio is now 14-19 on the road this season.

The Spurs paired a strong defensive fourth quarter with a blistering 60-point second half. The main difference was from distance, where San Antonio shot 47.4 percent on their triples, while the Cavaliers shot just 23.5 percent.

Which brings us to what we learned from the Spurs’ last game of the Rodeo Road Trip.

Observations

  • Dejounte Murray was the defensive MVP for the Spurs on Sunday. He finished the game with 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks. He kept Cavaliers point guard George Hill in check all night, helping Hill finish with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Murray finished with a well-deserved team high +17, highlighted by a string of 4th-quarter plays on both ends that made it obvious why Gregg Popovich inserted him into the starting lineup.
  • It was a tale of two halves for LaMarcus Aldridge. It seemed that he could not buy a bucket in the first half, starting 1-7 from the field, but he had 12 at intermission thanks to going 8-for-8 from the line. After that, Aldridge caught fire from the field, finishing with with 27 points on 8-13 starting with 30 seconds left in the 2nd. Aldridge’s ability to break down the Cavaliers defense in the second half, with his scoring and his passing, was a substantial part of why San Antonio left with the win.
  • What a night for Danny Green. Providing San Antonio with just what they needed, with Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard out, Green’s threes kept the Spurs in the game while LMA struggled with his shot. He finished with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range. He scored nearly a point a minute (22 points in 23) and logged a plus-12 plus-minus.
  • Bryn Forbes had a great performance off the bench, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including a pair of threes. It seemed like every time the Spurs were in need of a big shot, Forbes answered. His solid 20 minutes were great, but even better was the fact that Cleveland never found a way to target and exploit him on defense.
  • Kyle Anderson had a terrific second half on defense. He had a stretch where he didn’t let LeBron James score for two or three straight possessions, and on a night when his supporting cast struggled, James was extra assertive. Anderson also uncorked this beautiful steal.
  • How could we talk about this game without talking about the play of Pau Gasol, who finished with +16, the second-best +/- on the team. He had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. He complemented the play of Aldridge. He also skied up for the previously referenced dunk — not an everyday occurrence.

Source: Pounding The Rock

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