Spurs get huge road win over defending champ Cavs
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 41 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-115 in overtime on Saturday night despite missing starters Tony Parker and Pau Gasol.
Leonard scored six in OT, including a game-sealing dunk with 4.9 seconds left, as the Spurs regrouped after a late collapse in regulation.
David Lee, making a rare start in place of the injured Gasol, added 14 points as San Antonio improved to 18-4 on the road.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 29 apiece for the Cavs, who had the last shot in regulation and had plenty of opportunities in the extra five minutes. Cleveland still had a chance to tie it in the final second of overtime, but Kevin Love missed a 3-pointer.
The matchup between two of the NBA's best teams didn't disappoint.
There were clutch shots, defensive stops, drama and in Leonard vs. James, a budding rivalry between superstars.
James helped force overtime with a 30-footer with 34.8 seconds left. James then forced Leonard to miss a contested fadeaway, giving the Cavs chance to win it, but James missed an off-balance 3 in the final second as the teams went to the extra session tied 107-all.
San Antonio did not score in the final 2:47 of regulation.
Irving scored Cleveland's first six points in overtime to give the Cavs a 113-111 lead, but Patty Mills got a second chance after badly missing a 3 and knocked one down to make it 114-113.
Aldridge's two free throws put the Spurs up three before James committed his seventh turnover and the Cavs appeared to be done. But James forced a jump ball and won the tap, but in attempting to save the ball from going out of bounds, Love, who missed the previous game with back spasms, whipped it behind his back to Leonard, who went in for his dunk.
Gasol is expected to miss at least one month after undergoing surgery on his broken left hand. The 7-footer got hurt during warmups on Thursday night, and his loss will not only test San Antonio's depth but may force the Spurs to sign another big man.
Spurs: Scored at least 100 points for the 20th straight game. ... Parker's injury is not considered serious, but he's also expected to sit out Monday's game at Brooklyn. ... Coach Gregg Popovich said James has evolved into the well-rounded player he envisioned. "You didn't know how team oriented would he be," he said. "Would he understand the game? Would he play both ends? Would he be consistent night after night? You don't know that about young players, but obviously he's a special guy." ... San Antonio's 17-4 road record coming in equaled the third-best start in league history, behind only the 1971-72 Lakers (20-1) and 2015-16 Golden State Warriors (18-3). ... Leonard is the first San Antonio player to score at least 30 in six straight games since Mike Mitchell in 1986.
Cavaliers: Missed 10 free throws. ... James has marveled at how San Antonio continues to fly under the radar despite its championship pedigree. "I think it's that they don't boast and brag about what they accomplish," he said. "They're not flashy. They just win and they're consistent over there, but they've done a great job of just going about their business." Coach Tyronn Lue has his own theory why the Spurs get overlooked. "Maybe Pop has it in his contract to fly under the radar," he joked. "They're good every year."
Spurs: Continue a four-game trip at Brooklyn on Monday.
Cavaliers: At New Orleans on Monday before returning home for three games next week.