Spurs clip Cavaliers, remain perfect at home
(The Sports Xchange) - San Antonio found a way to keep their home record unblemished with a 99-95 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker scored 24 points, and Kawhi Leonard poured in 20, 16 after halftime, as San Antonio shrugged off a slow start by clamping down on the Cavaliers with their trademark defense.
"We just played better defense in the second half," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "(Cleveland) did the same stuff, but we just played it more aggressively and did a better job, both execution-wise and competitively."
Eighteen of Parker's points came in the first half, when just about every other San Antonio player struggled.
The second half belonged to Leonard, the league's reigning defensive player of the year, who held Cavaliers forward LeBron James to seven points after halftime.
"Kawhi made LeBron work for everything he had," Popovich said. "It was a heck of a win because we gave away the first quarter."
San Antonio (35-6) have won their first 23 home games of the season, the most by a Western Conference team to open the season since Portland won their first 26 at home in 1977-78. The Golden State Warriors are 18-0 at home this season.
The victory also allowed the Spurs to extend their regular-season home victory streak to 32 games, dating back to an overtime loss to the Cavaliers last March, and granted them their best start after 41 games in franchise history.
Leonard pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, and David West scored 13 points, including two huge baskets in the first 1:07 of the fourth quarter to give San Antonio a lead they would not relinquish. Manu Ginobili added 10 points. Continued...