The San Antonio Spurs saw their six-game winning streak snapped on Thursday night as they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime, 128-125.
The Spurs led at the end of each of the first three quarters, however, their inability to contain Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving ended up bringing their demise as the 2011 first overall pick put up 57 points against San Antonio.
Mar 12, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James (23) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Irving put on a show but his work done late was especially impressive. Cleveland trailed by seven points with under a minute and a half to go, almost assuring the Spurs of their seventh straight win.
The Cavaliers star had other ideas though, scoring Cleveland’s last nine points and sending the game into overtime on a three-pointer as time expired in the fourth.
Irving continued his fantastic work in the extra period as well, accounting for 11 of the Cavaliers 18 points in overtime, basically willing his team to victory.
The former Duke star’s performance takes on even more value when you consider how the Spurs outmatched Cleveland in a whole host of categories.
San Antonio finished with a better shooting percentage, 56.3% to 48.4%, more assists, 28 to 19, more points in the paint, 56 to 42, and won the rebounding battle, 41-37.
All of those advantages seemed to go out of the arena though, especially late after Kawhi Leonard missed two free throws that would have put the Spurs up by five with under five seconds to go.
While Leonard’s missed free throws will be the main story of the night, the former first-round pick played extremely well up until that point. Leonard finished with a nice, all-around effort, 24 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
Tony Parker also played well for San Antonio, continuing his recent string of good games with 31 points on 15-of-23 shooting along with six assists.
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While Kyrie Irving stole most of the spotlight for the Cavaliers, fellow star LeBron James also had himself a night. The King contributed 31 points of his own, also adding five rebounds and seven assists.
With the loss, the Spurs lost their first game of their six-game home-stand, falling to 40-24 on the season. Cleveland improved to 42-25 with the win.
San Antonio will have a little time to reflect on the loss as they don’t play again until Sunday. The Spurs next game will be on that Sunday against the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves at 6 p.m. CT.
What do you think about San Antonio’s tough loss to the Cavaliers? Will their inability to hit free throws down the stretch come back to haunt them in this tightly contested Western Conference playoff race? Let us know in the comments!