Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 2/13/13
Talk about a strange game. The Cleveland Cavaliers played the San Antonio Spurs about as tough as you could possibly hope, and they did it on a night in which Kyrie Irving arguably played the worst game of his career since his debut game against the Raptors last season. The Cavaliers came out strong and rose a combination of impressive bench play (especially on defense) and an unexpected offensive onslaught from Tyler Zeller to outscore the Spurs 32-25 in the 2nd quarter en route to an 8 point half time lead. The 2nd half would mostly be played with a 5 point swing in either direction and the Cavaliers looked to be in good shape to steal a win from the NBA’s best team. With a 3 point lead, the Cavaliers saw the Spurs’ Gary Neal hit a big three to tie the game. On the ensuing possession Dion Waiters, who lead the Cavaliers with 20 points, hit a nice step back 20 foot jumper to give the Cavaliers the 2 point edge with 9 seconds left. But the Spurs had one more play left in them and Tony Parker drove and kicked it out to a wide open Kawhi Leonard who drilled the game winning three. The Cavaliers had one more chance with two seconds left and drew up a play for Kyrie Irving to redeem his disastrous night, but all Kyrie could do was slip, spin, and throw up an ugly prayer of a shot that had no real chance to go in. Kyrie finished 2-15 from the field for 6 points while his counterpart on the Spurs, Tony Parker, lead all scorers with 24 points. To his credit, Kyrie did chip in 7 assists with just 2 turnovers, but he also committed 5 fouls and just looked really off all night. It’s hard not to wonder if his ankle is bothering him more than he’s letting on. While the loss stings, the Cavaliers should be proud of the way they competed tonight while their leader was struggling. The bench unit was outstanding and the Cavaliers gave great effort on defense for most of the game. Moral victories don’t count for much, but there are worse ways to head into the All Star break than this.   1 2 3 4 T SA 21 25 28 22 96 CLE 22 32 19 22 95   San Antonio Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts Tony Parker G 33:52 8-14 0-1 8-8 +4 1 6 7 3 0 0 0 1 24 Danny Green G 28:20 1-8 0-5 2-3 +2 0 3 1 1 4 0 0 1 4 Tiago Splitter C 26:42 2-6 0-0 2-2 -2 3 7 1 1 2 1 1 3 6 Kawhi Leonard F 32:53 5-10 1-2 2-2 -2 2 10 2 4 1 4 2 1 13 Tim Duncan F 25:26 6-15 0-0 1-2 +15 2 6 3 1 0 5 1 0 13 Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts Totals 38-84 5-19 15-18 11 44 25 13 7 10 4 15 96 Percentages .452 .263 .833 Team Rebounds: 4 Gary Neal 25:07 6-12 3-7 0-0 +6 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 3 15 Boris Diaw 18:59 0-3 0-2 0-0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 DeJuan Blair 18:18 6-7 0-0 0-1 0 2 5 1 0 0 0 0 3 12 Nando De Colo 11:47 1-3 0-0 0-0 -7 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 Manu Ginobili 9:43 2-4 1-1 0-0 -4 0 1 6 1 0 0 0 0 5 Matt Bonner 8:53 1-2 0-1 0-0 -7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 Aron Baynes DNP – Coach’s Decision Stephen Jackson DNP – Inactive Cory Joseph DNP – Inactive Patrick Mills DNP – Coach’s Decision Cleveland Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts Kyrie Irving G 31:44 2-15 0-1 2-2 -1 0 3 7 2 1 1 1 5 6 Dion Waiters G 31:29 8-15 0-1 4-4 -6 1 6 4 2 1 0 2 0 20 Tyler Zeller C 33:56 7-10 0-0 2-2 +2 3 9 4 2 0 1 1 2 16 Tristan Thompson F 28:10 5-13 0-0 0-0 -1 4 7 1 3 0 2 3 2 10 Alonzo Gee F 22:02 3-5 0-1 1-2 -2 1 4 1 1 2 0 1 2 7 Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts Totals 40-97 2-11 13-15 16 48 24 10 8 4 10 15 95 Percentages .412 .182 .867 Team Rebounds: 12 C.J. Miles 20:58 4-11 2-5 0-0 +8 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 Shaun Livingston 20:24 4-8 0-0 0-0 -1 1 3 4 0 1 0 1 1 8 Luke Walton 17:54 1-2 0-0 2-2 +3 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 4 Wayne Ellington 17:32 2-6 0-2 1-1 -4 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 5 Marreese Speights 15:50 4-12 0-1 1-2 -3 6 9 0 0 1 0 1 2 9 Omri Casspi DNP – Coach’s Decision Daniel Gibson DNP – Coach’s Decision Kevin Jones DNP – Coach’s Decision Josh Selby DNP – Inactive Anderson Varejao DNP – Inactive      
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