SAN ANTONIO – The Cleveland Cavaliers gave San Antonio another tense test at home before the Spurs rose up on defense for what they deemed their biggest win of the season.
Tony Parker had 24 points and San Antonio used a furious start to the fourth quarter to beat Cleveland 99-95 on Thursday night, remaining undefeated at home and avenging their previous loss in their own arena.
“Coming into this building, they’re never going to make many mistakes,” said Cavaliers star LeBron James, who had 22 points. “(Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) definitely puts those guys in the right position every single possession to be successful for their team.”
San Antonio (35-6) extended its home winning streak to 23 games to begin the season. The Spurs have won 32 straight at home dating to 2015 and became the first team in NBA history with a 10-game winning streak in six consecutive seasons.
The team’s last loss in San Antonio came against the Cavaliers on March 12 last year when Kyrie Irving scored an NBA season-high and career-high 57 points in a 128-125 overtime victory.
Irving was limited to 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting this time, but the game was just as intense.
Instead of folding on defense in the fourth period as they did in their previous home loss to Cleveland, San Antonio rallied in the final quarter on Thursday.
“One of the best opponents we can play against. It gave us so many mismatches. They play different than most other teams,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “Of course, when you have a guy like LeBron, the whole team plays different. Kawhi (Leonard) did a very good job of making him play uncomfortable. As a team we were pretty sharp after that first quarter.”
James shot 9-for-17 and attempted only four free throws.
Leonard added 20 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio, which has won 10 straight overall.
After a 32-point opening quarter, the Cavs were limited to 18 in the second.
“They did a good job of taking us out of our sets, but we also had some really good looks that didn’t go down for us,” James said.
Bulls 115, 76ers 111 (OT)
In Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 53 points and E’Twaun Moore had seven of his 14 in overtime to lead Chicago over the 76ers.
Butler also had 10 rebounds and six assists while making 15 of 30 field goals and 21 of 25 free throws to help the Bulls snap a three-game losing streak. He became the first Chicago player to score 50 points since Jamal Crawford in 2004.
Robert Covington scored 25 points and Ish Smith had 24 for the 76ers, who fell to 4-37.
Raptors 106, Magic 103 (OT)
In London, Kyle Lowry scored 24 points, Cory Joseph added 19 and Toronto beat Orlando in overtime at O2 Arena.
Victor Oladipo scored 27 points and Evan Fournier had 21 for the Magic. Orlando lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Grizzlies 103, Pistons 101
In Memphis, Mario Chalmers scored 25 points, including a leaning 6-meter jumper with less than a second left to give the Grizzlies a win over Detroit.
Marc Gasol had 19 points for Memphis, and Matt Barnes added 18.
Warriors 116, Lakers 98
In Oakland, California, Stephen Curry scored 26 points, with his first eight baskets coming on 3-pointers, and Golden State beat Los Angeles in what was likely Kobe Bryant’s last game in Oakland.
Bryant had eight points, six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.
Kings 103, Jazz 101
In Salt Lake City, Rudy Gay scored 24 points and hit the game-winning shot with 0.9 seconds remaining to give Sacramento a victory over Utah.