CLEVELAND: The San Antonio Spurs continued their success over LeBron James-led teams by edging the Cleveland Cavaliers 92-90 behind Tim Duncan’s double-double and a key forced turnover by Manu Ginobili.
Duncan delivered 19 points and 10 rebounds and Boris Diaw also scored 19 points on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) for San Antonio who posted their fifth victory in the last six games.
“It is a big one,” Duncan said. “A great victory on the road against a very talented team.”
The Spurs literally snatched the victory from the James’ hands Wednesday as they forced the Cleveland star to commit a turnover on the Cavs’ final possession of the game.
Ginobili scooped up the ball and ran out the clock for the defending champion Spurs in front of a crowd of 20,562 at Quicken Loans arena. James finished with 15 points and nine assists in 34 minutes of playing time.
The Spurs defeated James and the Miami Heat in five games to claim last season’s NBA title. James left the Heat in the off season to re-join his hometown Cavaliers.
NBA finals MVP Kawhi Leonard finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Cory Joseph came off the bench to score 10 points in the win.
“We are still trying to get ourselves together,” Duncan said. “We are not playing very well right now and we are missing some guys.”
Anderson Varejao tallied 23 points and 11 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 20 in the loss.
Ginobili split a pair of free throws to stake the Spurs to a 92-90 lead with nine seconds left before James lost the ball near midcourt.
Varejao rebounded Ginobili’s miss and James dribbled behind his back as Ginobili lunged for it, but he lost the ball off his left hand as he attempted a crossover.
Ginobili then threw the ball into the air from the left corner of the three-point line with no time left in regulation. AFP