CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame the absence of LeBron James to earn a 97-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
With James sidelined for the second game in a row due to an injured ankle, the Cavaliers sunk eight consecutive free throws as time wound down to hold off the charging Spurs.
“This is a resilient team,” said Cavs coach Mike Brown. “We have a lot of capable players. The thing you look for is you want to make sure guys keep trusting one another. That trust factor was a big thing.”
Cleveland’s Delonte West scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and Mo Williams added 17 and eight assists, to help the NBA’s top team improve to 50-15.
Manu Ginobili had a game-high 38 points, including seven three-pointers, but the Spurs, who were missing point guard Tony Parker due to a hand injury, squandered a five-point lead with around six minutes to go.
After Williams made free throws to put the Cavs on top 95-92 with nine seconds to play, Roger Mason missed a potential game-tying three-pointer for San Antonio (36-25).
In addition to playing without James, the league’s reigning MVP, Cleveland were also without Shaquille O’Neal (thumb) and lost Antawn Jamison to a knee injury in the third quarter.
San Antonio had won four in a row coming into the game, despite Parker sustaining his injury on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
George Hill, taking Parker’s place in the starting lineup, scored 23 for the Spurs, who led by three points at halftime and by six early in the fourth.
“Without LeBron and Shaq, and Antawn for most of the second half, a lot of guys had to step up,” Williams said. “We did a good job today of finding a way.”
Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing Peter Rutherford; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org