LeBron Beats the Flu, But Spurs Beat Cavs 105-98
LeBron James, recovering from Influenza A, returned to the Cavs lineup and scored 22 points to go along with six rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Spurs last night. Tony Parker finished with 22 points also, and grabbed three rebounds while dishing out seven assists. Duncan had 13 points and nine rebounds, but didn’t play in the second half. Ginobili, Jefferson and Jerrells were all DNP-CDs. DeJuan Blair only played 10 minutes, but he had a decent stat line still: 7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and a perfect 3-of-3 from the field. Coach Popovich took the night off and let his assistants handle the game. The replacement refs called 61 fouls. Yes, you read that right. George Hill and Tony Parker combined to shoot 20 free-throws by themselves. These replacement refs are some whistle happy dudes to say the least.
Now let’s talk cuts. First off, it’s not a good sign for Curtis Jerrells that he didn’t even play. Marcus Haislip played seven minutes and managed to snag two rebounds and a steal, but he also had two fouls, one turnover and missed his only shot. I think these two guys are going to be the last two cuts with Hairston and Marcus Williams going to the inactive roster – and possibly the D-League’s Austin Toros.
Either Theo Ratliff or the Ian Mahinmi Project will probably end up on the inactive roster as well. Ratliff is a veteran, while Mahinmi continues to underwhelm. So far this pre-season, in five games Mahinmi has committed 15 fouls and 8 turnovers in 74 minutes of action. Meanwhile, in four games Ratliff has committed four fouls and two turnovers in 32 minutes of action. On the flip side, Mahinmi has totaled 18 points, 17 rebounds, five blocks, one assist, and no steals. Meanwhile, Ratliff has totaled five points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and one assist.
Considering that Mahinmi has played over twice as many minutes and one more game, he’s really only showing to be a marginally better scorer than Ratliff, and committing nearly twice as many fouls per minute. I don’t really see either of them getting much time off the bench, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of them sent to the inactive roster. I can see the Spurs keeping Mahinmi active since they are still trying to bring him around, but I can also see them going with the veteran who isn’t as mistake-prone. I guess we’ll find out in the coming week.