San Antonio Spurs

Friday, November 04, 2005

Spurs and Cavs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Bruce Bowen's main job was hounding LeBron James on defense. He also threw in a shooting lesson for the Cleveland Cavaliers' star.

Bowen made all three of his 3-point attempts while leading a San Antonio defense that held James to 10 points over the final three quarters of the Spurs' 102-76 victory on Friday night.

"Night in and night out I look forward to playing the other team's top player," said Bowen, who finished with 12 points. "You have to pay attention to every detail when you are defending [James]. ... He's going to get his shot. You just have to contest it."

James, who scored 31 points in the Cavs' opening-game win over New Orleans, finished with 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting. He went 0-for-3 on 3-pointers after making six against the Hornets.

"I was able to attack at times, draw the defense in and kick it out -- sometimes we made the shots, sometimes we didn't," James said. "We try to do the exact same things they try to do, only they do it about five times better right now."

Up five points at halftime, the Spurs (2-0) broke the game open in the third quarter at both ends of the floor.

Bowen hit two 3-pointers and Tim Duncan (21 points, 10 rebounds) added four quick baskets as San Antonio went on an 18-7 run to start the quarter.

At the defensive end, the Spurs limited Cleveland to four baskets in the period while extending their lead to as many as 21 points. After a 3-pointer by Larry Hughes and a jumper by James, the Cavs missed 13 of their next 14 shots, most in the paint.

"They let you stick around a little, think you can run with them, then they kick it up another notch," said Cleveland coach Mike Brown, a former Spurs assistant.

San Antonio shot 13-for-21 in the decisive quarter, including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. The Spurs went 10-for-17 from 3-point range, and they outscored the Cavaliers 62-32 in the paint.

Cleveland (1-1) scored only 31 points in the second half on 10-for-43 shooting.

"First half, we kind of played terrible defense, gave them wide-open shots," said Tony Parker, who had 18 points and eight assists for the Spurs. "The second half, we matched their energy. Every time they tried to penetrate, everyone was in good position."

Drew Gooden scored 14 points for Cleveland and Hughes added 11. Donyell Marshall had 10 rebounds.

San Antonio got two baskets each from Rasho Nesterovic and Bowen in taking an 11-2 lead, but the Cavs battled back to go ahead 19-17 on a jumper by Hughes.

Cleveland maintained a small advantage through most of the second despite James making only one basket in the quarter. His two points matched the number of times he was called for traveling in the period.

A 3-pointer by Manu Ginobili with 3:36 remaining in the half gave San Antonio a 42-41 lead, and he followed with a short fadeaway jumper. Parker added two layups and Duncan a tip-in to build the Spurs' lead to 50-43 in the final minute.

Notes: The Spurs have beaten Cleveland 16 straight times at home. The last time San Antonio lost a regular-season home game to the Cavs was in December 1988. ... Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry, assistant GM Lance Blanks and reserve guard Mike Wilks, all with the Spurs last season, received their 2005 championship rings before the tipoff. ... Duncan had one block, leaving him seven short of 1,500 for his career. ... After scoring 11 key points in the final quarter of San Antonio's opening-night win, Michael Finley went 1-for-6.


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