Spurs Opponent Insight: Cleveland Cavaliers Q&A With Jared Mueller
By Michael Rehome
Nov 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Before the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers battle on Thursday, we caught up with our friends over at King James Gospel to discuss the action ahead.
The Spurs return home to the AT&T Center where they put their will be putting a couple of streaks on the line. Not only are the Spurs on a nine game winning streak they have also won 31-straight games at home.
We spoke to Cleveland Cavaliers Writer Jared Mueller to find out how he feels about the Cavaliers chances against the Spurs.
Jared writes about the Cavaliers over at Fansided’s King James Gospel. You can follow him on Twitter at: @JaredKMuellar.
Lets dive into what he had to say about tonights matchup.
Next: What has been key for the Cavaliers in their recent success?
Jan 12, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) and center Tristan Thompson (13) and forward LeBron James (23) and guard Iman Shumpert (4) celebrate during the overtime period as Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) walks away at the American Airlines Center. The Cavaliers defeat the Mavericks 110-107 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Rehome: Both teams are on streaks of their own, Cavaliers currently eight games and the Spurs, nine. This marks the Cavaliers second time reaching this streak. What has been key for their success in recent games?
Jared Mueller: There have been two key aspects to the Cavs recent streak: Talent and Depth. While those are normally the same thing, the Cavs have been both very talented on the top end of the roster as well as deep enough to hold on to leads or expand them. Kyrie Irving has been dynamic while LeBron James just keeps doing his thing. The Cavs generally go 9 deep with players who can produce. Matthew Dellavedova has continued to improve and is now an offensive weapon while Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Richard Jefferson all produce well, with JR able to go off at any moment. Kevin Love has been up and down but always produces in some area of the game to help the Cavs.
Next: What would the Cavaliers need to do in order to snap the Spurs streak at home?
Jan 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots the ball over Houston Rockets power forward Terrence Jones (6) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
MR: It has been 10 months since the Spurs felt defeat at the AT&T Center. This season they are 22-0, 31-game winning streak dating back to last season. The Cavaliers were the last team to win in San Antonio. What would the Cavaliers need to accomplish to snap the streak?
JM: The Cavs defense has been good since Shumpert’s return but they will have to be excellent to snap the Spurs streak. It will start with how they handle LaMarcus Aldridge. He has killed the Cavs in the past and no reason to think he won’t take advantage of Love’s lack of quickness and height, either in the post or on the elbow. They will also need to get ou on the shooters, instead of being sucked in on post ups or drives. A lot to ask but the Cavs have to win on the defensive side of the ball.
Next: What match-up strikes your eye outside of James vs Leonard?
Nov 14, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14) celebrates with power forward Tim Duncan (21) after hitting a three point shot during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
MR: This could possibly be a Finals preview. These two are no stranger to one another. LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard will definitely be a match-up to watch. What other match-up strikes your eye?
JM: Besides LMA, who was the lone PF I wanted more, matching up with Love, I am most interested in the sharp shooting contest between JR and Danny Green. With Irving back and LeBron healthy, JR is getting a ton of great looks and hitting them. Will the Spurs try to put Parker on him so Green can play Irving? Will JR take him in the post then? Will the Cavs try to “hide” Kyrie on Green, who is more often a spot up shooter? Really want to see how the shooting guards are dealt with on both sides.
Next: Are you surprised by the offensive output from the Spurs?
Mar 12, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with guard Kyrie Irving (2) after hitting a three point shot against the San Antonio Spurs during overtime at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
MR: Spurs offense has been clicking on all cylinders as they lead the league in most wins by 25+. Are you surprised by the offensive output thus far from San Antonio and will Cleveland have a hard time handling all the Spurs weapons?
JM: I am somewhat surprised that the Spurs have been able to click. Leonard’s continued development on the offensive end is surprising while I was unsure how Tim Duncan and LMA would handle being on the floor together. Like the Cavs, the Spurs depth is also exciting. I think the Cavs can matchup pretty well. LeBron, Tristan, Shumpert, Jefferson, Delly and JR are all very good defenders. Timofey Mozgov has struggled this season but came on strong in the last game, which could be a turning point for him. I don’t think it will be easy but I expect the Cavs to keep this game very close.
Next: Final Predictions. How do you see this game turning out?
Nov 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after committing a turnover in the final seconds against the San Antonio Spurs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
MR: Final prediction. There is no question that these two teams will be in the playoffs. Both are playing at a high level right now, under the radar as the Golden State Warriors are taking the spotlight with their impressive start. How do you see this game turning out?
JM: The Cavs always get the best of other teams and taking on the Spurs in their building is not helpful either. I struggle picking against the Cavs, and wouldn’t be surprised by either team winning. I expect a close game with the Spurs pulling it out 104 – 101.
Next: San Antonio Spurs vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Game Preview