Spurs 112, Cavs 105
--Another little bit of NBA karma here. Manu Ginobili's shot in San Antonio very easily could've gone in and beaten the Cavs last month. He got even in this one. He was just great. Yes, he made open shots, but he also made stepbacks and fadeaways and shots with guys in his face. Just a great performance. --The Spurs totally destroyed the Cavs' defense in the fourth, scoring on 17 of 19 possessions. They spread everything out and then ran pick-and-rolls with Ginobili and Tim Duncan. The Cavs just couldn't help and recover well enough. They had to double Ginobilli and rotate to deal with Duncan and it left others open. The Spurs were just excellent tonight. --Cavs were ahead by five points going into the fourth, LeBron scored 18 in the period, and the Cavs scored 30 points as a team. That almost always is enough to win. --Overall, going 3-3 over the last six games considering the circumstances isn't bad at all. The problem was they really didn't have a chance to win two of the games and they lost two at home. Still, it would've felt very different to go into the break at 30-22 instead of 29-23. --Zydrunas Ilgauskas needs the break badly. The back is really bothering him and he's had to go against Yao Ming, Dwight Howard and now Duncan over the last week. He's gassed. --The Cavs let the refs get to them tonight. I agree there were some poor calls, but again it did not directly determine the outcome. The Cavs spent a lot of time complaining and got a couple technicals. --Seeing LeBron just rip apart the Spurs defense time and time again really makes you wonder. Tonight he really was physical with Bruce Bowen, just attacking him one-on-one. Other times he seemed like he waited for the help to come when actually he could've attacked earlier and scored even more if he want. But he was in foul trouble early and didn't want to pick up charges. With his confidence now, it would be interesting to see them in the playoffs again. Obviously he didn't put his best foot forward in the Finals and he's let it motivate him.
Spurs: Jacque Vaughn, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Fabricio Oberto Cavs: Larry Hughes, Ira Newble, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Officials Steve Javie, Brian Forte, Derek Richardson
--Daniel Gibson is back and said he's probably going to take part in All-Star Weekend. --LeBron was upset about Jason Kidd getting traded to the Mavericks for a package of players including Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, cash and draft picks. Here's what he said:
"Of course I wanted him to be part of our team but if we couldn’t get him I am glad he is out of the East. I hope he does well for that franchise. I think the (front office) probably been trying to do some things, I don’t know. We all know we need to get better, that is simple. We need to get healthier and we need to get better. To me, I want to win now I don’t want to sit around and wait. Sometimes you have to."
Halftime -- Cavs 47, Spurs 46
--Good news for Cavs is they have held the Spurs to 35 percent shooting and just eight points in the paint. Bad new is they are only up one point. Spurs have stayed in the game at the foul line and gotten the Cavs into foul trouble. The game seemed to change a little after Mike Finley got called for a technical and it seemed to loosen the officials. --Z got his third foul early in the second period, walked over to the bench, kicked the air and went right to the locker room. I guess he figured he was done for the half and he went to lay down instead sit on the bench with his bad back. Neither he or Gooden have looked good with their injuries tonight. --Hughes' hot shooting is continuing. He's already taken 12 shots, though, and you have to wonder whether the high volume approach will be smart if the scales balance. --Daniel Gibson is active and he warmed up but he just hasn't played. Not sure what is going on there.
Stars Ginobili, 46 points, eight assists Duncan, 23 points, 13 rebounds James, 39 points, nine assists Hughes, 26 points, six rebounds
Quotes: Ginobili: “It was a special game, I was feeling really good from the beginning. I felt every shot I was taking was going in.” LeBron: "I guess that’s how opposing teams feel when I get it going like that in the fourth. It was a great performance by Manu."
On a personal note, I am taking All-Star Weekend off. Marla Ridenour will be providing coverage in the Beacon Journal and on Ohio.com. Obviously if there is major Cavs news I will be here to report and respond. Also, the other night in Orlando I (again) had computer problems that prevented me from blogging. Will be working on getting that fixed for the second half.