Cavs Can't Catch Up in San Antonio

Spurs Bench Too Much for Wine and Gold
Manny Harris
The Cavaliers scrapped hard, but simply ran into a buzzsaw on Sunday night. In their defense, there are 28 other teams that have tasted that same blade this season.

The red-hot Spurs – still fighting for the top overall seed in the West – got the best of the young Cavaliers at the AT&T Center, topping them, 114-98. But unlike their previous win over Cleveland, San Antonio had to battle for the full 48.

“We have guys with great character, a lot of heart and a lot of pride,” praised Byron Scott. “We want to end the season continuing to play that hard, because it gives us a lot of fuel going into next season.”

The Cavs went toe-to-toe with San Antonio in the first quarter, but the Spurs opened up a 16-point edge in the second. But the Wine and Gold cut the lead to single-digits by the break. After intermission, the Spurs tried to pull away again and pushed their edge to 15. But the Cavs battled back again – cutting it to eight late in the third.

But, led by Stephen Jackson, the heavyweight Spurs turned it up in the final period and the Cavaliers couldn’t trim the lead below double-figures again – running their advantage to as much as 20 midway through the quarter.

Antawn Jamison led both clubs with 21 points – going 8-for-20 from the floor, adding three boards and three assists.

Kyrie Irving continued to get back into game-shape, netting nine of his 19 points in the third quarter. The top candidate for Rookie of the Year went 8-for-18 from the field and finished with three assists, three steals, a pair of boards and a blocked shot.

“I’m really happy with the effort we showed tonight on both ends of the floor, even though we didn’t come out with the win,” said Irving. “This is the best team in the West, so it was going to be hard to come in here and try to get a win, but I’m really proud of our guys.”

Manny Harris did most of his damage in the first stanza, netting 11 of his 14 points before intermission. Manny was also whistled for a Flagrant-1 in the second quarter when he inadvertently took down Danny Green – the player he essentially beat out in Training Camp two seasons ago – on a drive to the basket.

Alonzo Gee returned to the lineup after missing the previous two contests with a sprained left ankle and came off the bench to net 10 points, five boards and a steal.

The Spurs, playing without Tim Duncan, had five players in double-figures – led by a pair of Cavalier Killers: Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson, who finished with 20 and 17 points off the bench, respectively.

On the night, San Antonio shot 55 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc.

The Cavaliers now head into the final week of the regular season. They’ll play the second night of the road back-to-back on Monday night in Memphis, return home for Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday against Washington and close out the campaign on Thursday night in the Windy City.

  • In 2011-12, Kyrie Irving averaged more fourth-quarter points (6.6) than any rookie in the past decade. The second-highest mark was by Ben Gordon, who averaged 6.1 in fourth quarters in 2004-05.

  • The Cavaliers, along with the Hornets and Suns, are tops in the league with 12 different players taking turns leading the team in scoring.

  • The newest Cavalier, guard D.J. Kennedy – signed on Saturday after a season with the D-League’s Erie Bayhawks – dressed but didn’t see action on Sunday night in San Antonio. Kennedy played all four years at St. John’s and ended the D-League season averaging 15.7 ppg for Erie.

  • San Antonio’s D-League squad also got the better of Sunday night – eliminating the Charge from the postseason with a 90-68 victory over Alex Jensen’s team. Canton, which dropped the series, 2-1, was lead by Dante Milligan’s 12-point, 13-rebound effort.