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“Basketball Is Fun”

By Jeff Koch on March 28, 2017.

Season 50, Game 73
San Antonio 103, Cleveland 74
57-16, 2nd in the West

My biggest takeaway from the Spurs absolute beatdown of the Cavs on Monday night: Kyle Anderson can dunk.

Kyle Anderson can dunk?! Are you kidding me? Where’s that move been, young fella.

If you missed Kyle dunking in the 4th quarter, you’re probably not alone. The Spurs so thoroughly outplayed the Cavs that this game was over right around halftime. This was a litmus test game for each team, and the Cavs were so bad I’m not sure the Spurs can even take anything away from it.

Cleveland did not look good. The Spurs did, but I’m not sure how much of that was just really bad defense from Cleveland. The ball movement was good in the first half, and the execution was generally solid. But there was so little resistance to primary actions, it wasn’t much of a proving ground for the Spurs’ offense. “Only” putting up 103 on this Cavs’ defense is kind of a letdown, to be honest.

In this recent defensive swoon, though, the Cavs’ offense has still been red-hot. The best result from this game (other than the aforementioned Anderson dunk) is 74. The Spurs’ defense looked like a championship defense going up against a championship-level offense (even if Cleveland doesn’t have the defense to match right now). Danny Green was amazing in this game, with 4 blocks, 2 steals, and great individual defense. He’s a favorite whipping boy of Spurs’ fans, but he earns his keep with his defense.

With Kawhi and Danny on the wings, the Spurs probably have the best wing defense in the NBA. While defense is usually built inside out, the Spurs are able to do it a bit differently. Kawhi and Danny give the bigs cover to stay at home in the pick and roll, and gamble a bit more on ball handlers. They don’t have to stray as far from the rim, and worry less about being roasted by guards. It’s why you see Gasol, Lee, and even Aldridge have career renaissances on that end of the court.

The Spurs “Prove It” week continues Wednesday night against the Warriors. I hope both teams are full-strength (well, as full as the Warriors can be, missing Durant) so we can see a great game. I honestly don’t know how well the Spurs are playing right now. The #1-seed is still at stake, kind of; but I’m more interested in just seeing how the team matches up against the other best team.

Go Spurs Go.