90 - 88 Final
  for this game

James, Cavaliers hold off Spurs

Jan 18, 2008 - 4:52 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) - LeBron James scored 27 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 90-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night at the AT&T Center.

In a rematch of last season's NBA Finals, in which the Spurs swept the Cavaliers, James bulled his way through the paint for the winning basket with 33 seconds to play.

Tony Parker missed a pair of potential tying free throws with 29 seconds left and Manu Ginobili's 17-foot jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim, spoiling a big fourth-quarter comeback by San Antonio.

"One thing we did tonight was get defensive stops and make plays down the stretch," James. "It's a big win for us. We have to continue to play well. We've been playing great basketball lately."

Ginobili came off the bench to score 31 points for the Spurs, who lost their fourth home game. Ginobili's last-second jumper came off a missed shot by James.

No timeout was called and he raced down the court before pulling up at the free-throw line.. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he would never call a timeout in that situation and was satisfied with the last shot.

"I'll do that 10 out of 10 times, you bet," Popovich said. "You're not going to get a better shot than Manu or Tony going one-on-one down the court."

Parker added 23 points and Tim Duncan finished with 20 and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who have lost three of their last five games - two at home.

"The last few games, we haven't been playing our best basketball," Parker said. "We just have to stay with it and stay focused. I think we have a lot of room for improvement and the bottom line is we have to keep working and get better."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half for Cleveland, which outscored the Spurs, 31-17, in the second quarter to take a 50-43 lead at halftime.

With 10:41 left in the third, James went up for a jump shot and came down on Parker's foot. A timeout was called as he limped off the court favoring his right ankle, but he did not miss any action.

"I tweaked it a little bit," said James as both of his feet were submerged in ice. "I wasn't able to push off like I want to, but I wasn't going to sit out, not in a big game like this."

Though his first few shot attempts with a weak ankle were way off, he quickly regained his stroke. James hit a 3-pointer with 8:15 left in the third that gave the Cavs an 11-point lead, their largest of the game.

It appeared as if Cleveland was headed to an easy victory, but Ginobili set the tone early in the fourth, scoring eight points in the first five minutes.

San Antonio's Brent Barry, who returned to lineup after missing nine games with an injured left calf, nailed a key 3-pointer that cut the lead to 77-76.

After James missed a layup on the next possession, Duncan threw the outlet pass to Parker, who raced to the basket for a layup to cap a 13-2 run and give San Antonio a 78-77 lead with 6:39 left in the game.

Damon Jones responded with a mid-range jumper, but Parker found Barry open in the corner for another 3-pointer.

The game was tied at 81-81 when Parker stole a pass intended for Daniel Gibson and was fouled as he made the layup for the three-point play.

James, who also had nine rebounds and seven assists, then had an emphatic block on Parker's layup but was called for goaltending, giving the Spurs an 86-85 edge.

Gibson hit a 3-pointer to regain the lead for the Cavs, but Duncan countered with a layup to tie it at 88 and set up James' go-ahead basket.

"We just made one more play and we were able to get the win," said James, who was coming off a 51-point performance in Tuesday's double-overtime win over Memphis.

Duncan said it's frustrating to lose these types of games.

"We put ourselves in a situation to win the game, and it didn't happen," he said.

The Spurs held a 26-19 lead after the first quarter, but the second belonged to Cleveland. Down 29-19 in the second quarter, the Cavaliers used a 24-4 run to take a 43-33 lead with less than four minutes left in the first half.

"It was a gutsy win," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "It's a gutsy team win, and I'm glad we got it."