This one was intense and physical right from the tip-off, as expected. Kawhi Leonard was able to contain LeBron James in the first couple of minutes, but Kevin Love and JR Smith started the game a combined 4-for-4 and the Spurs quickly went down 10-2.
The Spurs tried to play inside-out, but were missing some gimmies inside. SA couldn't seem to buy a bucket in the first half of the quarter until Danny Green hit a transition three that seemed to shift the momentum, and the Spurs came within two leading to a Cavaliers time-out.
The Cavs came out of the time-out on a 15-2 run. They were just out-muscling the Spurs inside, getting And-1's and lobs to Tristan Thompson seemingly whenever they wanted. The Spurs went into the second quarter down 32-20, shooting only 40% from the field to the Cavs 60%.
The Spurs picked it up defensively in the second quarter, but still struggled to get the ball in the basket. Manu Ginobili helped off the bench to slowly chip away at the lead, but LeBron got going and the Cavs kept surging. The Spurs bigs struggled to score in the paint, and Kawhi didn't have a great start offensively either. He missed five of his first seven shots and had two turnovers.
Tony Parker was magnificent in the second quarter and was the main reason the Cavs didn't take a commanding lead in the first half. He had 18 first half points on 8-for-12 shooting and had a burst at the end of the second to cut the deficit to six. Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge were a combined 0-for-8 in the half, while Lebron had 14 and went 6-for-10.
The Spurs picked it up offensively to start the second half and went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. Kawhi got to the line a couple of times which seemed to get him going and he hit the three to put SA up two.
The Spurs looked defensively not allowing anything easy and held the Cavs to only nine points in the first eight minutes of the third. There were multiple lead changes late in the quarter, but a buzzer beating three from Mathew Dellavedova gave Cleveland a one point advantage heading into the fourth.
The Spurs gained a lot of momentum in the fourth and went on an 13-2 run to start the quarter which gave them a double digit lead. Kawhi then threw this one down to send the crowd into a complete frenzy:
Kawhi lefty putback dunk. https://t.co/CCIw4pTVkk— RealGM (@RealGM) January 15, 2016
The Cavs wouldn't go away and the Spurs lead was cut to five with just over a minute to go. Duncan hit a huge turnaround bank-shot on the Spurs next possession to extend it back up to seven, and it was too late for Cleveland. The Spurs were great down the stretch and held on to win 99-95, and stay perfect at home. A great win for the Silver and Black. The Spurs fend off LeBron James and the Cavaliers and stay perfect in the AT&T Center.