Spurs 114, Cavaliers 98
Tim Duncan rested, and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili called it
an early night.
With another win Monday, the Spurs’ veterans can take the
remainder of the regular season off.
Ginobili scored 20 points Sunday to lead San Antonio to its
seventh straight victory, 114-98 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
San Antonio (47-16) moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City,
which lost to the Lakers earlier Sunday, in the race for the best
record in the Western Conference. A victory in any of their final
three games would secure the top spot in the West for the Spurs,
who own the tiebreaker over the Thunder.
Ginobili said the Spurs were keeping an eye on the Lakers’
double-overtime victory before their game. San Antonio hosts
Portland on Monday.
”We want to clinch as soon as possible,” Ginobili said.
”Tomorrow we have a good game here, so we’re going to trying to
play our best and keep improving. We have room for improvement,
where we can pick up the aggressiveness. We want to try and set the
pace for the playoffs.”
Cleveland (21-42) lost for the fourth time in its last five
games despite the Spurs giving Duncan the night off. With the
playoffs right around the corner, the 35-year-old Duncan was the
only active Spur not to play.
Stephen Jackson scored 17 points for the Spurs, DeJuan Blair
added 15 points and seven rebounds, and Danny Green had 14 points.
Antawn Jamison led Cleveland with 21 points, Kyrie Irving had 19,
and Manny Harris added 14.
”I thought it was a relatively sloppy game, but we managed to
keep our lead,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”Sometimes in
the NBA that’s hard to do. We stuck with it and got the win.”
Besides limiting Duncan’s minutes this season, Popovich has
given his star forward six nights off to rest. Thanks to another
easy victory, their other veterans didn’t play too much.
Ginobili and Parker each played just 22 minutes. The Spurs
entered the game having won four straight games by at least 21
points. During that span, Ginobili has played 30 or more minutes
only one time, and Parker has done so just twice.
”Any time we get a chance to rest Tim and Tony doesn’t play
that much, and we get away with a win, that’s always a plus,”
Jackson said. ”As long as we take care of business and continue to
build and not take steps back, we’ll be all right.”
Parker had six points and nine assists for the Spurs, who swept
the season series.
”When you have three Hall of Famers on one team, it’s tough to
beat them,” Irving said. ”A lot of people are downplaying them
just because their age is up there a little bit. But they’re still
one of the best, if not the best, teams in all of basketball.”
One of those potential Hall of Famers, Ginobili, showed off his
full arsenal of plays, hitting layups, runners and step-back
jumpers. The veteran forward was hampered by injuries earlier this
season, but he’s now looking like the Ginobili of old.
”For sure, I’m feeling better than a month ago,” Ginobili
said. ”That’s promising, and that makes me feel good and in a
The Spurs led only 52-44 at halftime behind 11 points from
Green, but the starting forward left the game in the second quarter
after a flagrant foul by Harris. Green was hit in the left eye by
Harris while going up for a layup with 5:35 left in the second
quarter. Green stayed on the ground for several minutes before
getting up to hit one of two free throws. He then left for the
locker room for the rest of the quarter before returning for the
Notes: Spurs F Boris Diaw started for Duncan and had six points
on 3-of-7 shooting. . Scott ranked third-lowest in a poll of
players when asked which coach they would most like to play for,
finishing ahead of Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy and last-place Scott
Skiles of Milwaukee. ”The thing I know about both those guys is
they’re pretty demanding guys,” Scott said. ”So if that’s the
case, and I’m put in that category as being a very demanding coach,
I don’t mind that. You’ve got a lot of guys that want you to kiss
their butts. I’m not doing that. That ain’t happening. And I’m not
going to tell them all the time what they want to hear.” Popovich