Preseason: Cleveland Cavaliers 106, San Antonio Spurs 80


If Tuesday night’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers had few takeaways for the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday night’s 106-80 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers had even less. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson all flew back to San Antonio after the Spurs’ game against the Clips. This left the Spurs with a young and inexperienced roster to test out on DeJuan Blair’s homecoming trip to Pittsburgh.

And the final score shows that. San Antonio was competitive for about two-and-a-half quarters. And then they weren’t. After three quarters, the Spurs were down 79-62.

So what did we learn this game? Well, not much.

The only broadcast I could get a hold of for this game was the stream of Spurs radio on 1200 WOAI. So I got out my whittling knife, lit up my corn cob pipe and listened to sports the way my grandpa did. Blame Varner, he thought about driving the few hours up or down or whatever direction Pittsburgh is from where he lives. But Tim got busy with a family and full-time job and “important” things like that.

Anyway, James Anderson started at small forward, alongside George Hill, Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess. Gary Neal led the way with 10 points and was the only player in double-figures, which usually isn’t good. Anderson added nine points and was 2-4 from the 3-point line. Bobby Simmons had eight points, but he was 2-3 from 3-point range. So I don’t know what to think.

As I said before, I wasn’t able to watch the game, so I can’t comment on who looked good on the defensive end, etc. I can only go by what I heard, and the box score. I did get the impression that Neal was playing a good all-around game. Schoening commented a couple of times on nice passes Neal made (I also remember one bad pass), and Gary took a charge on J.J. Hickson in the first quarter. These are good signs when you’re talking about the shooter off your bench helping you in other ways besides shooting. Speaking of shooting, Neal was only 4-13 from the field, but 2-5 from 3.

DeJuan Blair scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his homecoming. Looking at his 3-11 line from the floor, it wouldn’t surprise me if Blair was trying a little too hard to impress in front of friends and family and he simply needed to slow down a bit. I remember George Hill did the same thing last year when the Spurs played in Indiana in the regular season. Yep, Hill was 3-11 for six points in 30 minutes last season in a 90-87 win at Conseco Fieldhouse. But Blair dishing out five assists is encouraging.

What else is there to say? Not much. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blair sit out on Saturday night at the AT&T Center, when the Spurs take on Tiago Splitter’s former club Caja Laboral. Blair played 33 minutes against the Cavs. Speaking of Splitter, there’s a chance he may play on Saturday night. Apparently the big man was in uniform for Thursday night’s game in Pittsburgh, but didn’t make an appearance.

Alonzo Gee finally played, although it took until the third quarter for him to make an appearance. Again, not good when you’re talking a depleted squad in the preseason.

Okay, 550 words is entirely too long to talk about this game. More to come before Saturday night.

  • JustMe

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  • Hobson13

    When I first saw the score I wondered what the heck happened since the Cavs may not even make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Then I saw that the Big 4 plus Bonner weren’t even there. Pop was smart. Let Duncan and Co. chill with a few beers and give ALL the young guys extensive minutes. Can someone who watched the game please comment on how Anderson and Simmons played on the defensive end? Their stats were pretty even although I must say that Simmons seems to be a good rebounder from that 3 spot. I’m still of the opinion that we need both Anderson and Simmons on this roster. Having both would seemingly remedy any weakness we have at the SF position.

    Good to see Temple had an all around decent game. With his 22 minutes tonight, he doubled his preseason playing time. I’ve got a feeling tonight was the final test for several players. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a cut or two in the next few days with perhaps Gee and Gist at the top of the list. Blair got back to his rebounding ways, but he needs to start hitting his free throws. This is the first bad shooting night he’s had in 4 games, but he still managed to get involved in the game with 11rebs, 5 assts, and a block. Nothing to be worried about if you ask me.

  • rob

    If the coaching staff was looking for a diamond in the rough…all they got was a lot of coal dust.

    Blair got abused by Hickson. Somebody has kidnapped George Hill and replaced him with a look alike that has no skills. Temple and Jerrells don’t have the ability to lead. Neal at best is an end of the bench player that you hope you don’t need. And Richard Jefferson is secure as the starter. Though I will admit…it appears Moon had difficulty on the offensive end when Anderson was defending him.

    The inability to stay focussed on defense and miss so many oportune shots did not bode well for the young players. In this game…there wasn’t a single player one could consider a future star for this team if Parker, Ginobili and Duncan were not on this team.

    And I had so much hope that somebody would shine in this game.

    Ah well.

  • New York City

    I tried to listen to the game, and then just like you, Andrew, I realized I was listening to radio on my computer via the Internet. I turned it off and played NBA Live instead.

  • Jim Henderson

    Well, just from the game stats (including a scan of the play-by-play) I can make a reasonable guesstimate of what looked good/bad in this game.

    First of all, I’m not one of those that pooh pooh preseason games as “entirely” meaningless in terms of a win or a loss as a team. In fact Scott Sereday’s recent post seems to validate that idea. And I also don’t think being without 5 of our top 10 starter/rotation players gives us an excuse to lose, particularly against a young and mediocre Cav’s team that also played without Mo Williams & Anderson Varejao, and Jamison getting just 9 minutes.

    The most troubling aspect to me is that it appeared to either be a very lackluster performance in general, or our players just played uninspired “defense”. Otherwise how do you explain giving up 9 rebounds to their back-up PG, 6-8 shooting to their back-up SG, 52% team shooting, and getting out-rebounded by 9 by a team that played just one player over 6’8″, and that one is a career reserve center that’s never been a good rebounder. Rebounding is as much about energy & desire, and apparently we just didn’t have it tonight. Not too impressive if you ask me. All the guys playing tonight should have been hungry regardless of it being a preseason game. But that didn’t appear to happen, and that’s disappointing.

    A couple of quick points about some of the players:

    Blair played fairly well except for his shooting percentage. A scan of the play-by-play reveals that he must have been practicing his shots away from the basket. Only two of his eleven attempts were lay-ups (he missed one).

    Temple got some minutes, and appeared to play fairly well — a good sign.

    Simmons appeared to be a bit more comfortable with his game (a better shooting %, including 2 of 3 from three — his last 2-point attempt was a rushed shot at the end of a blow-out game), and active on the defensive end (3 steals). This is also a good sign.

    Anderson’s box suggests a fairly efficient if unspectacular night, with 9 points on just 6 shot attempts.

    Apparently Hill is frighteningly superstitious about playing well in a preseason game. I guess as long as it doesn’t carry over into the regular season I can live with it.

    Cousin, Gist, and Gee made reservations for Austin tonight. Not sure if the flight is scheduled to leave before the next preseason game on Monday @ home against OKC. Gist actually has a flight option for overseas, depending on which way the wind’s blowing. Seriously though they’ve all been good additions to our camp. You never know when the next call might come.

    October 14th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    “Though I will admit…it appears Moon had difficulty on the offensive end when Anderson was defending him.”

    Did you see the game, or are you just going by radio?

  • AmyfromLA

    I expected our team to lose, but I guess I didn’t expect it to be that bad. I was only able to listen to the 1st half of the game cuz I had to leave for class. It sounded like we were passing the ball well early on, but were really really bad on defense as the game moved along. From what I can remember, there were a lot of put-backs/2nd chance points for the cavs, meaning not a whole lot of boxing-out by our players? i’m not sure if that was because of size or because of a lack of effort. i, like most, was hoping one of the newbies fighting for a roster spot, would have a breakout game, but since I missed the 2nd half and according to the box, it didn’t seem like it. (someone correct me if i’m wrong)

    when i saw that the magic also rested 3 of their starters, but still won the game, i was a little sad. i questioned if our bench would be good enough for a playoff push (i know it’s only pre-season), but then i looked again and realized that aside from hill, blair, and dice, the rest haven’t had much time with the team and haven’t played heavy minutes. in contrast, the magic team, though w/o their stars, still had players who were part of the 08-09 & 09-10 runs so i didn’t feel that bad. =) let’s just hope we’ll bounce back and the newbies will bounce back before they pack their bags for Austin/Europe.

    i can’t wait for the real games to start. i hope hill is just saving himself for games that matter because it almost sounds like he’s taken 2 steps back. i’m also scared that we have too high of expectations for hill, since his crazy jump of production last year. i hope my worries are for naught.

    (sorry for the rambling)

  • rob

    Jim Henderson

    “Did you see the game, or are you just going by radio?”

    I caught part of the game via internet but was having trouble getting a decent feed. I then sat outside and listened very intently to the radio.

    I was paying particular attention to what was transpiring at the SF spot since Anderson got the nod to start.

    From what I heard…Moon didn’t get heavily involved in the scoring until Anderson was substituted. And it was particularly true when Gee came in to the lineup at the 3:19 mark of the 3rd. Moon went off after that.

    But in all honesty…I would be assuming since I didn’t watch the whole game. But looking at the play by play from:

    it may appear my assumption to be somewhat correct.

  • rob

    Jim Henderson

    “All the guys playing tonight should have been hungry regardless of it being a preseason game. But that didn’t appear to happen, and that’s disappointing.”

    That pretty much sums up my opinion as well.

    If there was a “bright” spot it would have been the play by Anderson and Simmons. They seemed to have been the most consistent out of all the players. And if that holds true…at least this team has one if not two reliable b/u’s at the wing.

  • Tim in Surrey

    October 14th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    “Though I will admit…it appears Moon had difficulty on the offensive end when Anderson was defending him.”

    I wouldn’t read too much into that. Moon would have difficulty on the offensive end if anyone was defending him. All you really have to do is keep him from getting putbacks, and Blair and McDyess will take care of that. I’m more concerned about Blair vs. Hickson, which has a lot more bearing on the regular season. Was it really that bad, or was Cleveland really working to get Hickson free? (He will be a featured scorer for them this year.)

  • bduran

    “First of all, I’m not one of those that pooh pooh preseason game”

    Depends really. When it comes to guys who’ve been playing I’d bet the preseason has little compared to past regular seasons when it comes to evaluation. I would be more interested what rookie preseason performance says about how they are going to play.

    For example Simmons is avaeragy 9.3 rbs and 3 steals per 36. Probably not going to hold up in the regular season. We’re talking very small sample sizes. I think preseason is fun for fans, but only coaches get much out of it from an eval stand point.

  • ChitownSpursFan

    Spurs fans: Last night as I was trying to listen to the game via the internet, channeled through WOAI 1200 AM, the game aspect from the Spurs end of things was pretty much lackluster. From what I heard & saw on the box score, no one really had a breakout game as I was hoping for, especially in Anderson, Simmons, & hopfully, Gist. Temple, in his minutes, made some important plays, as well as Anderson & Simmons. Hill & Blair really didn’t have a good night either as they are capable of having. No one REALLY stepped up to take ownership of this game & play their heart out, especially Hill & Blair. Not even Jerrells, who seemed to have a great game last Tuesday, really didn’t take charge either. Neal showed some promise, but again, the over all effort from the team just seemed to be not there. It’s unfortunate for them…. it’s unfortunate for us as fans because I really expected much more from these guys, especially those who are trying for a roster spot, & for whatever reason, they just really didn’t do well. The only theory I may have is the traveling from the States to Mexico & back to the States again, may have been a factor in their efforts. Perhaps that game Tuesday night was pretty intense, especially for the team to come from a double digit deficit to win, took a lot out of them. Perhaps this, & Blair also having to play before the home crowd, may have taken its toll on the guys, but in the end, I can see the starting lineup come regular season tip-off to be: Parker, Manu, Jefferson, Duncan, Blair. RESERVES: Hill/Temple (coach’s pet; NBA experience, & natural tangables), Anderson/Neal, Simmons (because he’s a vet), Bonner, Spitter/McDyess. GO SPURS GO 4 the Drive 4 Five!!!!

  • rob

    Tim in Surrey

    Perhaps there isn’t too much to put into Anderson defending Moon. But Moon has been having a really good preseason. A +12.25 so far. And to limit his production until Gee came in the game in the third… says that Anderson (and Simmons) both did a good job on defense when the rest of the team was having difficulty.

    I was trying to garnish something positive out of otherwise a horribly played game by the entire team.

    And you’re correct….Hickson should have never been able to go off like he did against Blair if Blair came prepared to play.

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  • R ybarra

    Let us not worry about tomorrow, for we still have all the remaining worries for today until 12:00. The biggest assets:
    1. Ducan= hall of famer, 2. Manu= 1 American prodigy (South American ),3. Parker=Fastest French prodity,4.Tiago= Brazil prodity and best player in Europe, 5. RJ= 2 time finalist Player, 6.Blair = the best player in the Rookies VS Sophmore All-Star game last year, and 7. Hill who was the second in the 6 th award in the NBA. If I could afford tickets. Theses players are the new magificiant 7. Defense wins championship. If Tiago can score 20 and pull in 20 boards. If he gets David Robinson’s number 10-15 points and 8-11 boards, we have a chance. If he can guard the Pick and Roll ( our biggest weakness and his best asset), we might just win the whole thing.

  • rob

    R ybarra

    “If Tiago can score 20 and pull in 20 boards. If he gets David Robinson’s number 10-15 points and 8-11 boards, we have a chance.”

    That ain’t happening unless Duncan suddenly stops being the focus of offense, Blair is not in the game, and Tiago plays 30+ minutes a game. Which I find highly unlikely for a rookie in this league, with this system, for this team.