It was a tough Monday night for Deron Williams and the defending champs, as the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the second-place team in the loaded Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs, 102-74. The Cavs struggled to get anything going offensively and relinquished their first-place spot in the East to the Boston Celtics.
“They just looked so much faster than we are,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said after the game. “They just beat us off the dribble, transition, just looking faster.”
D-Will turned in two points and an assist in the defeat. Cavaliers star LeBron James exited the contest in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the neck. No. 23 discussed the loss and the Spurs ability to pounce on Cleveland’s weaknesses.
“The way we were struggling, this is the last team you want to play,” James said following the loss. “A well-oiled machine like this, they exploit everything you’re not doing well at this point in the season. We’re just not playing good basketball right now. We’ve got to figure it out.”
It was a tough night for Cleveland, scoring just 18 points in the first quarter and 40 in the first half. The Spurs entered halftime with a 64-40 advantage and didn’t look back, cruising to a 28-point victory.
While the loss was deflating, D-Will and Co. aren’t worried about their spot in the standings. They know they’re in, and they know they’ll be in for a battle whenever the playoffs begin. Right now, it’s all about finding a rhythm.
“It matters more that we’re playing better basketball than where we’re at,” James said. “If that results in us having the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed, 3 or whatever the hell it is, we need to play better basketball. That’s what it comes down to.”
Cleveland will be back in action on Thursday night when they travel to Chicago’s United Center to take on the Bulls. After a tough stretch, the team will look to turn things around and generate momentum entering the playoffs. Tip-off is at 8 pm on TNT.