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Question of the Day
CLEVELAND (AP) - They found the open man. They made the extra pass. They moved the ball with stunning efficiency.
The Spurs put on a basketball clinic. The Cavaliers couldn’t stop it.
Danny Green scored 24 points and San Antonio turned to its 3-point shooting to shake off a sluggish start in a 122-101 victory over Cleveland on Tuesday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, and Patty Mills and Boris Diaw had 16 apiece as the Spurs, running their offense to near perfection, won their fourth straight. They did it with stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combining for just 14 points.
And, the Spurs did it by racking up a season-high 39 assists on 43 field goals. In the second half, San Antonio had 24 assists on 25 field goals.
San Antonio, chasing Oklahoma City for the best record in the Western Conference, made 14 of 33 3-pointers. The Spurs scored just 13 points in the first quarter and trailed by 12 early in the second before making six straight 3s.
Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters scored 24 each for the Cavs, who have lost nine straight to the Spurs. Spencer Hawes added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.
This wasn’t as easy for the Spurs as their 30-point blowout of the Cavs in November, but it was close.
With the trademark proficiency that has made it a model franchise, San Antonio turned a competitive game for nearly three quarters into a laugher.
The always demanding Popovich had little to gripe about afterward.
“We’re always trying to move the ball, good to great,” he said. “Penetrate for a teammate, not necessarily for yourself. We did a really good job of it tonight. Sometimes you get an A-plus, sometimes you get an A-minus. Tonight was an A-plus in that regard.”
San Antonio started just 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, but the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team made 12 of its next 18 to open a 17-point lead after three quarters.
“In the first half, they missed a lot of shots and we caught a break,” Waiters said. “With that team you can’t make a lot of mistakes and we paid for it.”
Parker, playing his second game after sitting out six to heal up an assortment of injuries, scored seven points in 22 minutes. Duncan also had only seven but both All-Stars were able to enjoy the final quarter on the bench.
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