Cavs Crush Spurs to Stay Undefeated

Cherry, Cooley, Canadians Key Convincing Win
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

Up until this point, the story of the Cavs’ Summer League stint in Vegas – (aside from THE story) – has been the play of their back-to-back top picks, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. And on Friday night against Milwaukee and in the first three quarters of Sunday’s matchup with the Spurs, that was the tale of the team.

Then, guard Will Cherry – the smallest guy on the squad – checked into the game and blew up the whole narrative.

Cherry had the Cox Pavilion crowd oooohhhing and ahhhhing in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s convincing 82-70 wire-to-wire win over San Antonio – netting 14 of his team-high 21 points in the final period. Cherry came off the bench to finish the game 9-for-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, adding seven boards, four assists and a steal.

The 6-0, 185-pound guard from Montana, came to Vegas as a roster invitee and has been battling with Matthew Dellavedova daily during the Wine and Gold’s first week of practice. Fans in Canton are well-acquainted with the scrappy Oakland native. He joined the Charge late last season after Jorge Gutierrez was called up by Brooklyn and Ben Uzoh suffered a season-ending injury.

“I was in a zone for a minute, especially after I hit the buzzer-beater three,” smiled the charismatic point guard – referring to a trey he canned after picking up a loose ball as the 24-second clock expired. “All I seen was gold after that. I couldn’t get out of the zone after that.”

The Cavaliers jumped all over the Spurs early, running out to an 18-2 lead and never looking back. Cleveland held San Antonio to 23 points in the first half and led by three touchdowns at intermission. The Spurs cut the Cavs’ edge to 11 after three quarters, but they had no answer for the Will Cherry Show in the fourth.

The first three periods belonged to Cleveland’s Canadian Connection – Wiggins and Parker – who built upon their strong efforts on Friday night with another set of solid performances on Sunday.

Bennett – playing in front of a partial Las Vegas crowd that included his high school principal – had five points and three rebounds less than two-and-a-half minutes into the affair and didn’t let up the rest of the way. From soft jumpers to thunderous dunks to deft passes, Bennett looks like a new man after a shoulder injury forced him to sit out Summer League one season ago.

The former UNLV standout finished 5-of-8 from the floor for 13 points, netting a game-high 14 boards – two less than San Antonio’s combined starting five – in 30 minutes of action.

“I just want to go out there and prove to everybody that I can play,” said the visibly-relaxed sophomore forward. “Last year was kind of a setback for me, with the shoulder stuff, but I’m trying to put that in the past and I’m trying to just come out here and have fun.”

Andrew Wiggins struggled shooting the ball in the second half, going 3-for-11 from the floor overall. But he still finished with his second straight double-digit performance, tallying 13 points to go with three boards, two blocked shots and a steal.

The leading scorer among Cleveland’s starters was Jack Cooley, who was a load in the post, going 6-for-9 from the floor with five boards. The former Golden Domer, who spent last season playing in Turkey, notched 10 of his 15 points in the first half.

The Cavaliers, who improved to 2-0 in Summer League play, shot 51 percent from the field while holding the Spurs to just 34 percent. Cleveland never trailed and led by as many as 21 points in Sunday’s victory.

Cleveland faces off against Philadelphia to wrap up the regular Summer Leauge schedule, with tournament play tipping off on Wednesday afternoon.

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