The Spurs, who lost to the Miami Heat in last year's NBA Finals,
dished out a season-high 39 assists on 43 field goals. According to
Elias Sports Bureau, that's the seventh-best assist percentage in
the last 10 seasons in the league.
"That was pretty impressive," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That
doesn't happen often. We've been doing that all year long, but
that's a ridiculous ratio right there."
In two games against the Spurs this year, the Cavs (24-38) have lost
by a combined 51 points. They are now four games behind No. 8
Atlanta (26-32) in the Eastern Conference playoff race, with 20
games to play.
It was their ninth consecutive loss to the Spurs (44-16), including
their last four at home.
One of the bright spots for the Cavs was shooting guard Dion
Waiters, playing in his first game since Feb. 18 at Philadelphia. He
converted 11 of 18 shots from the field en route to 24 points and
Waiters had missed the previous seven games with a hyperextended
"I feel good," Waiters said. "(My knee) got stiff when I came out of
the game. I have to find ways to keep it loose."
He marveled at the way the Spurs executed their offense.
"Everybody touches the ball," he said. "It goes from side to side.
It's a team that doesn't really make mistakes. It's tough to guard a
team like that.
"You can never fall asleep on a team like that. We fell asleep and
they hit a couple 3s and broke the game wide open."
After the Cavs jumped out to a quick 23-13 lead after the first
quarter, things unraveled. The Spurs scored 109 points in the final
three quarters to turn the game into a rout.
They also fired in 14 of 33 from the 3-point line.
"We talked about running them off the 3-point line," Cavs coach Mike
Brown said. "We told our team this was the best passing team in the
league. We can never think the play is over."
The Spurs came into the game ranked second in the NBA in assists,
second in field-goal percentage and first in 3-point percentage.
They lived up to their billing.
"They touch the ball twice on every possession," Waiters said. "I
don't know how they do that."
[to top of second column]
Former Cavs guard Danny Green matched his season high with 24 points
and three assists. He was a second-round draft pick of the Cavs in
2009. He was waived the following season when the Cavs decided to
keep Manny Harris.
Forward Kawhi Leonard contributed 18 points, five rebounds, three
assists, four steals and three blocks in 26 minutes.
Guard Patty Mills and forward Boris Diaw each added 16 points for
the Southwest Division leader.
"You have to tip their cap to them," Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said.
"They all play the same way. They bring in Patty Mills, who's just
an instant spark for them every single night."
Irving added 24 points, six assists and two steals.
"The first quarter we couldn't make a shot," Spurs swingman Manu
Ginobili said. "We were slow and boring. From the second quarter on,
I think we scored 37 points in the second quarter and we started
rolling. It was a slow start, but after that it was fun. It was
Center Spencer Hawes recorded his first 20-point game for the Cavs.
He also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett added 14 points for the Cavs.
The Spurs' bench outscored the Cavs 60-39.
NOTES: Cavs G Dion Waiters played with C Spencer Hawes for the first
time. Hawes' 3-point shooting has improved the spacing of the Cavs'
offense, which should open up driving lanes for players like
Waiters, F Luol Deng and G Kyrie Irving. "I'm excited just to lace
'em (up) and make the playoff push we've got a chance to make," said
Waiters, who missed the previous seven games with a hyperextended
left knee. ... The All-Star point guards are similar in many ways.
San Antonio's Tony Parker and Kyrie Irving both rely on darting
quickness, uncanny speed and great ballhandling skills. "(Parker is)
a relentless guy when it comes to utilizing his speed against
teams," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "It's a huge weapon for him, and
Kyrie's starting to figure that out some in pick-and-roll situations
and in transition." ... Parker had missed the previous six games
with general soreness before facing Dallas on March 2. He had 22
points and seven assists in his first game since Feb. 10. ... The
Cavs signed F/C Arinze Onuaku to a second 10-day contract on
Tuesday. The 6-foot-9, 275-pounder has appeared in two games with
the Cavs and hasn't scored.
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