Cavs Crush Spurs in the 'Burgh
The Spurs were especially shorthanded on Thursday night, but the Cavaliers were without Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao and still handed the Spurs a 106-80 drubbing in the Steel City.
San Antonio traveled without four of their top dogs: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson. That left Gary Neal – an undrafted rookie from Towson – to as their high scorer, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
The Wine and Gold, conversely, had four players in double-figures, paced by J.J. Hickson’s 18 points. The third-year forward from N.C. State hit his stride after intermission – notching 10 of his 18 points in the third period. For the night, the high-flying forward finished 9-for-19 from the floor with nine boards.
Starting guard Ramon Sessions, who continues to impress through the preseason, also snagged nine rebounds – adding 14 points and six assists in just 24 minutes of action. Sessions was an economical 4-of-8 from the field and 6-of-9 from the stripe.
Sessions and Hickson have reached double-figure scoring in each of Cleveland’s five preseason outings. J.J. is averaging 16.0 points and 9.2 boards per contest.
Sessions’ backcourt mate, Daniel Gibson, has been just as impressive through five exhibition contests. Boobie came off Byron Scott’s bench to notch 13 points and six helpers of his own. The former Longhorn was 6-for-8 from the field and added four boards, a steal and a blocked shot.
“I think guys are busting their butts every day, and tonight we had it pretty much for the whole game,” praised Coach Byron Scott. “We had some lulls, but really loved the effort that we were applying out there. Guys are getting better. We’re going to keep working, but we’re getting better.”
The Cavaliers outscored San Antonio in every quarter of Thursday night’s win – dishing out a preseason-high 23 assists and committing a preseason-low 13 turnovers.
While Sessions and Gibson are battling for regular season playing time, rookie guard Manny Harris is attempting to make a case for the final roster. The former Michigan star, who has now reached double-figure scoring in each of his last three games, finished with 11 points, four boards and an assist, playing the entire second half.
But the news wasn’t all good for the Wine and Gold on Thursday night in the ‘Burgh.
Late in the first half, Antawn Jamison went down on the baseline grasping his knee. He limped into the locker room and was diagnosed with a sprained left knee. Later, Jamison downplayed the injury and was able to walk it off. In the second half, Anthony Parker sprained his ring and long finger on his right hand and didn’t return.
The Cavaliers tallied preseason bests with 106 points on 52 percent shooting. Cleveland shot 50 percent from long distance and an impressive 83 percent from the stripe. Every Cavalier that saw action got into the scoring column.
Byron Scott’s squad returns to Cleveland, where they’ll face Trajan Langdon, Sasha Kaun and CSKA Moscow on Saturday night. They’ll travel to Cincinnati and Columbus the following week to wrap up the exhibition schedule. Cleveland opens the season the following week against Boston at The Q.