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Wrap-Up – For one quarter at The Q, the Cavaliers clamped down completely on San Antonio – holding them to 13 points on 24 percent shooting in the first period. But the Spurs caught fire from beyond the arc from that point forward and pulled away late to hand Cleveland the 122-101 loss on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers did manage three 20-plus point scorers on Tuesday – led by Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, who finished with 24 points apiece. Irving was 8-for-17 from the floor, adding six assists, four boards and a pair of steals. Waiters returned to the lineup and added his 24 in just 23 minutes off the bench. Spencer Hawes continued his solid play as a Cavalier – finishing with 20 points and 13 boards, going 7-for-9 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Spurs canned 14 three-pointers on the night, even though the Cavaliers actually shot the ball better (53 percent, 10-of-19) from long-distance. San Antonio bested Cleveland on the fastbreak, 17-5, and featured four reserves in double-figures. The Spurs were led by former Cavalier, Danny Green, who notched a season-high 24 points as San Antonio won their ninth straight over the Wine and Gold.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers dominated the Spurs defensively in the first quarter, limiting them to five field goals in the period. But the Spurs’ offense awoke midway through the second. Kawhi Leonard’s jumper tied the affair at 36-apiece and Patty Mills’ trey one minute later gave San Antonio a lead they would not relinquish – upping their edge to 10 at half and as many as 28 in the second stanza.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – After a big All-Star Weekend, Waiters suffered a left knee hyperextension in his first game back against his hometown Sixers. He returned to the Cavs lineup after missing the previous seven contests and the layoff didn’t bother him a big – canning six of his first eight shots and finishing 11-for-18 on the evening. The sophomore guard was 2-of-3 from three-point range and added three assists, a rebound and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – 12 … Cavalier players with at least 100 rebounds this year, most on any team in the league.
Quotable – Dion Waiters, on the difficulty of guarding the Spurs …
”It’s tough guarding a team like that who gets into their offense no matter how much time is left on the clock. If it’s four seconds, they still find a way to make that extra pass. You just can’t ever fall asleep on that team and a couple of plays we fell asleep and they hit us with a couple of threes. It busted the game wide open.”
Up Next – After three straight matchups with Western Conference teams, the Wine and Gold travel to Charlotte this Friday for a matchup with the Bobcats, currently sitting in the seventh spot in the East playoff picture. On Saturday night, as the Cavaliers celebrate Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey retirement, they’ll welcome the Knicks to The Q – where they’ve topped Carmelo and Co. 11 times in New York’s last 13 visits. After Saturday’s matchup, the Cavaliers close out their Western Conference road schedule for the season – with stops in Phoenix, Oakland and L.A. beginning next Wednesday night.