Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 3/8

Game 1: Monday, March 8th
Spurs95Final
Cavaliers97
Game 2: Friday, March 26th
Cavaliers97Final
Spurs102

Spurs 95

(36-25, 14-15 away)

Cavaliers 97

(50-15, 28-4 home)

    Coverage: NBATV

    7:00 PM ET, March 8, 2010

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 26 26 24 1995
    CLE 28 21 23 2597

    Top Performers

    San Antonio: M. Ginobili 38 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Cleveland: M. Williams 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 8 Ast

    Backcourt steadies Cavs against Spurs in LeBron's second absence

    Associated Press

    CLEVELAND -- LeBron James was in street clothes. Shaquille O'Neal was nowhere to be found, and Antawn Jamison was in the locker room icing his sore knee.

    If they had lost, the Cleveland Cavaliers had plenty of excuses.

    Fast Facts

    • Delonte West scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

    • Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with a season-high 38 points in his second start of the season.

    • The Cavaliers are the first NBA team to 50 wins for the first time in their history.

    • Each of the previous two teams to reach 50 wins first went on to win the title ('08-09 Lakers and '07-08 Celtics).

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    They didn't have to use one.

    Mo Williams made two free throws with 9 seconds left and Delonte West made the kind of plays down the stretch reserved for James as the Cavs won for the first time in three seasons without their superstar, beating the San Antonio Spurs 97-95 on Monday night.

    Cleveland had been 0-9 since 2007-08 without James.

    "We had a great opportunity. Not many teams can come here and win," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who scored a season-high 38. "LeBron wasn't playing, Jamison didn't play the second half and Shaq wasn't there. We blew a big one."

    Williams finished with 17 points for the Cavs, who were playing their second straight game without the injured James. The NBA's reigning MVP is nursing a tender right ankle as well as other bumps and bruises and Cleveland coach Mike Brown is taking advantage of a lull in Cleveland's schedule to get him rest.

    West had 16 points and made a key steal in the final minute as Cleveland became the first team to reach 50 wins this season.

    "Without LeBron, Shaq and Antawn, that's the three main guys," Williams said. "We so often get the ball to LeBron and play through him. We did a good job of finding a way."

    The Spurs were also short-handed, playing for the first time this season without guard Tony Parker. He's out six weeks with a broken hand suffered on Saturday in Memphis.

    The Cavs may suddenly have more to worry about than just James or O'Neal, out until the playoffs after having thumb surgery.

    Jamison left late in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury and did not return. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

    "Everything was fine in the first half. In the second half, it stiffened up," Jamison said. "I couldn't get the range of motion I needed. I had a slight case of this the first month of the season. It's not anything to really be worried about."

    A back-and-forth game came down to the final minute. With Cleveland up one, West stole a pass intended for Ginobili with 55 seconds left and was fouled by San Antonio's guard. He made both free throws to put Cleveland ahead 93-90 with 52.8 seconds left.

    After San Antonio missed two potential game-tying 3s, Ginobili hit a tough step-back jumper that was ruled a 2-pointer. The officials checked the TV monitors to make sure it wasn't a 3, and as they reviewed the play, Ginobili watched it on the giant overhead scoreboard. When he saw it wasn't a 3, Ginobili clenched his fists in disgust and spun on his heels.

    "The replay was pretty clear," Ginobili said. "One inch. I knew I was on the line, that's why I stepped back. I was pretty sure it was a 3, but then I saw [referee] Joey Crawford asking for a review and he looked pretty sure. It's sad. It was a tough shot and the whole game changed."

    Williams' two free throws made it 95-92 and the Spurs called time to set up a play. They ran it to perfection with Ginobili passing the ball out top to Roger Mason, but he missed his eighth consecutive 3-pointer and Anderson Varejao was fouled.

    Cleveland's big man made both free throws and Ginobili made a 3 -- the one he needed moments earlier -- just before the horn.

    Jamison scored 17, Jawad Williams 13 and J.J. Hickson 12, including two big free throws with 1:05 left that put the Cavs ahead 91-90. West added six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

    George Hill started for Parker and scored 23. Tim Duncan had 13 points for the Spurs, who had their winning streak stopped at four.

    The Spurs were excited to learn Parker will not need surgery, increasing the odds the speedy guard will be back at some point in the playoffs.

    "I guess it makes me feel better," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

    Unhappy with his club's defense, an irate Popovich tore into his players during a timeout late in the first.

    His arms flailing and his face reddening with every word, Popovich yelled and screamed from his seat. Before play resumed, he benched DeJuan Blair and Richard Jefferson and replaced them with reserves Malik Hairston and Ian Mahinmi, who entered the game having played a combined 158 minutes all season.

    Jefferson drew Popovich's wrath in the second after he allowed Jamison to drive baseline and score.

    "We gave away 8-12 points just because they ran it right down our throat and our transition was godawful," Popovich said. "That was the worst part of the whole game."

    Game notes


    Ginobili made 7 3s. ... James didn't join his teammates on the bench until two minutes had expired in the first quarter. The crowd barely stirred when James, wearing a stylish, blue pinstriped suit and two-toned saddle shoes, strolled in fashionably late. He was dressed like a coach and it wasn't long before he joined Cavs coach Mike Brown and his assistants in the huddle during a timeout. ... Cavs F Anthony Parker dislocated his left ring finger in the first but returned. He finished with eight points in 21 minutes. ... The Cavs are 13-1 at home against Western teams.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SA
    CLE
    Points 95 97
    FGM-FGA 35-84 (.417) 36-76 (.474)
    3PM-3PA 10-29 (.345) 6-14 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 15-22 (.682) 19-24 (.792)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-44 5-42
    Assists 21 21
    Turnovers 14 13
    Steals 5 8
    Blocks 4 2
    Fast Break Points 12 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 17 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 8 6

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Cleveland
    Manu Ginobili Ginobili
    Points: 38
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Mo Williams Williams
    Points: 17
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0