for this game

Ginobili fuels Spurs by LeBron, Cavs

Feb 14, 2008 - 3:52 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) - Manu Ginobili picked up at Quicken Loans Arena right where he left off.

Ginobili, who lit up the Cavaliers for 27 points in Game Four of the NBA Finals last June, fired in a season-high 46 points as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Cavaliers 112-105 in a wild, back-and-forth contest on Wednesday night.

Playing their ninth straight road game, the Spurs fell behind by 12 points in the first half before rallying on the shoulders of Ginobili.

"That's the best part of our road trip, that our focus and mental toughness has really increased," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Manu is Manu. He's one of the most unbelievable competitors I have ever been around. That's why he has NBA championships and Olympic championships and European championships."

After both teams had traded four consecutive 3-pointers, Ginobili drilled back-to-back shots from the arc to give San Antonio a 103-95 lead with 3:10 left.

Ginobili was almost unstoppable in the fourth, scoring 18 points to finish two shy of his career high. He connected on 15-of-20 shots and 8-of-9 free throws while adding eight assists and five rebounds.

"It was a special game," Ginobili said. "I was feeling really good, even from the beginning. In the second half, it got even better and I felt like every shot I was taking was going to go in, and it did."

Cleveland ran out to a 60-50 lead, but San Antonio answered with an impressive 17-4 run to make it 67-64 at 2:45 of the third quarter.

The Cavaliers used an 11-4 spurt to end the quarter and carried a 75-71 edge into the fourth. LeBron James, who scored 18 of his 39 points in the fourth, scored Cleveland's first seven points of the final period before Ginobili took over.

"(Ginobili) had a night tonight," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "You know 105, 102 ... that's enough points for us to win a basketball game, but he was hot."

"I guess that how the opposing teams feel like when I get going like that in the fourth quarter," James said. "(Ginobili) did a great job of breaking us down and knocking down 3s."

All-Star Tim Duncan had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Bruce Bowen added eight of his 10 points in the fourth for San Antonio, which scored 41 fourth-quarter points.

"I'm happy (Ginobili) is on my team," Duncan said. "I've seen him do it before. He's done it a couple of times before. When he gets on a roll like that, he's got so much junk to his game he changes it up.

"He's not just shooting 3s. He's not just driving to the basket. He's doing just about anything he wants to do. We stayed within striking distance and he just took it over the top."

The Spurs completed their nine-game road trip with a 6-3 record.

"We have these multiple games in a row on the road and it changes the character of our team," Duncan said.

"We're starting to focus the way we need to for the playoffs," Popovich said.

Four technical fouls - two by each team - marred an otherwise sensational game.

"We also allowed the referees to get to us," Brown said. "Usually we play through that type of stuff and I thought tonight it affected us some."

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