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.