Grades: San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Game #50

In the final contest of their seven-game home stand, the San Antonio Spurs fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 117-101. San Antonio’s record dropped to 10-40 on the season, while Cleveland improved to 31-16.

The Spurs kept it close in the first quarter. Heading into the second period, the good guys trailed 30-25. Unfortunately, things quickly went downhill from there. At halftime, the Spurs were down 67-45. In the second half, San Antonio was never able to put together a sustained run.

All in all, the Spurs looked drained and the Cavs were hitting on all cylinders. The actual game wasn’t as close as the final score may suggest. 

Stats: Spurs vs. Cavaliers

spurs cavs

Spurs vs. Cavaliers – Final Grades

Victor Wembanyama

The good: Wembanyama dominated on the boards and was really active on the defensive end. Offensively, he hit half of his three-pointers and got to the free throw eight times. While he had a few sloppy possessions, Wembanyama was more careful with the ball than he has been recently. The bad: The rookie was 3-for-12 from two-point range. The shot-selection wasn’t terrible, it looked to be more a matter of fatigue and not going up with the necessary amount of power. Wembanyama ran hard to the offensive end but sometimes didn’t move with the necessary amount of urgency in defensive transition. The overall: Wembanyama looks like he hit the rookie wall but was still positively impacting the game despite some uncharacteristic struggles.

Grade: C+

Devin Vassell

Vassell had another strong offensive performance. After a troubling three-game stretch in which he was 1-for-18 on three-pointers, he has bounced back with a ten-game stretch in which he averaged 22.1 points on 50.9% shooting from the field and 41.2% shooting from three-point land. Against the Cavs, he was a reliable perimeter threat and also attacked the basket well. He took care of the ball and did a decent job in his limited playmaking opportunities. Defensively, Vassell was a bit of a disappointment. His movement and effort level could have been a lot better.

Grade: B

Jeremy Sochan

The Sochan roller coaster continues. Versus Cleveland, he plummeted back down to earth. The Cavs weren’t guarding him on the perimeter and Sochan ended up 0-for-5 from three-point range. His misses weren’t particularly close and he eventually lost confidence in his jumper. Sochan rebounded well and gave effort on defense but he was such a liability on offense that it overshadowed everything else. If he can’t make teams guard him, his value quickly evaporates.

Grade: D

Tre Jones

Like was the case with Sochan, the Cavs were basically ignoring Jones on the perimeter. Sadly, he also struggled making Cleveland pay for that strategy. That was a shame because Jones played well in just about every other facet of the game. His passing was really good, he finished without a turnover in 28 minutes, and he hustled on defense and on the boards. But, like with Sochan, a lot of Jones’ value was lost due to shortcomings offensively.

Grade: B-

Julian Champagnie

This was quietly one of Champagnie’s better all-around performances as a starter. Defensively, he’s really starting to come into his own. He’s being aggressive and confident in his movements on that end. Offensively, he did a good job of not being a one-dimensional gunner against the Cavs. He positioned himself well, ran hard in transition and cut wisely away from the ball.

Grade: B+

Keldon Johnson

Johnson returned to the lineup and did a lot of good work on the offensive side of the court. He scored an efficient 17 points in only 22 minutes. He took good shots, didn’t make many mistakes and at times single-handedly stopped the bench unit from sinking into the abyss. Defensively, Johnson wasn’t doing a whole lot of things right. He was slow in man-to-man situations and missed too many rotations.

Grade: B

Doug McDermott

McDermott did his job well versus Cleveland. Both on the strongside and weakside, his movement was precise and almost always perfect. That movement helped him get open shots and also played a role in him tallying three assists in 20 minutes. Defensively, McDermott had some issues — but, overall, I’d say he was just about average on that end.

Grade: B+

Zach Collins

The good: Collins’ rebounding was a lot better. He actually grabbed caroms instead of watching others do it. Collins didn’t play with any hesitancy on offense. The bad: Collins was clearly a part of the problem on both ends. Offensively, he tried to do too much. From ill-advised shots to ill-conceived passes, Collins was simply too much of a main character. Defensively, his rim protection was minimal and he’s still not moving his feet well since his recent ankle troubles.

Grade: C-

Cedi Osman

Osman nailed a couple of three-pointers in his 16 minutes of work but that was about the extent of his positive production. He wasn’t helping his teammates on either end. He was uncharacteristically slow in transition, he got in on the way in halfcourt sets and didn’t seem to be interested in playing hard-nosed defense.

Grade: C

Blake Wesley

Wesley had a tough go of it as the team’s backup point guard. He missed all three of his shots from the field and his playmaking was equally as underwhelming. He was better on the defensive end of the court but it wasn’t nearly enough to counteract his substandard offensive production.

Grade: C-

Malaki Branham

Even with Johnson back in the lineup, the coaches carved out a role for Branham. He responded with a dud. He was 0-for-5 in ten minutes and was a negative on the defensive end. His lack of three-point shooting ability continues to be very worrisome. His low release point and the fact that he just floats the ball toward the basket makes it difficult to imagine him ever becoming a knockdown shooter. 

Grade: D+

Pop

In retrospect, the rotation was clearly wrong. Should Barlow be playing over Collins right now? Quite possibly. Splitting time between McDermott, Osman and Branham looks to be a mistake — Pop needs to pick two. Sochan playing the second most minutes was also a head-scratcher. 

Grade: D