Spurs clinch thriller
CLEVELAND – The San Antonio Spurs had all of their stars together for the first time in a month and the game-winning shot still came from a role player.
Kawhi Leonard made a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining to give San Antonio a 96-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Ohio.The Spurs, who have won 14 of 15, had Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the floor together for the first time since January 13, but it was Leonard who saved the day.
Leonard’s clutch basket from the right corner off Parker’s assist came after Dion Waiters’ jump shot with 9.5 seconds remaining put Cleveland ahead 95-93.
San Antonio called timeout after Waiters’ shot. The Cavaliers had a foul to give and grabbed Duncan with 8.8 seconds remaining. The ensuing inbounds pass went to Parker, who drove into the lane and found a wide-open Leonard in the right corner. Leonard drilled the shot, giving the Spurs a two-point lead.
“We practised that 1,000 times so I knew we’d be able to execute it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “If Tony had the open layup, he would’ve have gotten the layup. That was his alternative.”
Kyrie Irving, who was held to a season-low six points, missed a desperation runner from the top of the key as time expired. Cleveland called timeout and inbounded the ball to Irving, who drove inside the 3-point line. Parker’s tight defence forced the Cavaliers’ All-Star guard to put up a tough shot, which hit the off the rim and fell off.Irving, who rolled his left ankle Monday against Minnesota, was 2 of 15 from the field with seven assists.
Gary Neal scored 15 points while Leonard, who left the locker room without speaking to reporters, scored 13 points with 10 rebounds.
Leonard sustained a cut above his right eye in the third quarter and left briefly. He returned wearing a bandage above the eye.Duncan, who had missed eight of the last nine games with a sore left knee, scored 13 points in 25 minutes.
Waiters scored 20 points to lead Cleveland.
Other scores: Hawks 108, Magic 76; Bobcats 77, Pacers 101; Bulls 69, Celtics 71; Nuggets 108, Nets 119; Raptors 92, Knicks 88; Wizards 85, Pistons 96; 76ers 92, Bucks 94; Trail Blazers 63, Hornets 99; Jazz 97, Timberwolves 93; Rockets 96, Clippers 106; Kings 100, Mavericks 123.