Final
  for this game

Spurs, Cavaliers meet in Game One of the NBA Finals

Jun 7, 2007 - 3:17 PM Cleveland at San Antonio 9:00 pm EDT NBA Finals Game One

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Depending on the point of view, Thursday may mark the coronation of the San Antonio Spurs as an official NBA dynasty or the beginning of a new era for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Spurs host LeBron James and the upstart Cavaliers in Game One of the NBA Finals at the AT&T Center.

San Antonio, which is gunning for their third championship in five seasons, heads into the finals eight days removed from their five-game series victory over the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference finals.

In pursuit of their fourth overall NBA title, three-time finals MVP Tim Duncan once again is up to his old tricks, as he averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds through 16 playoff contests.

Cleveland, on the other hand, is making its first appearance in the NBA Finals behind the stellar play of the young superstar James. Many have suggested that the Cavaliers have broken through as a regular title contender after having dispatched the favored Detroit Pistons in six games.

While many will play up the Duncan vs. James matchup, there are several intriguing storylines that will play a major factor in which team emerges victorious and whether San Antonio adds to their legacy or Cleveland is just starting to write their own.

Undoubtedly, the 22-year-old James will draw the attention of every Spurs player, but will have the undivided attention of renowned defender Bruce Bowen.

A member of the All-Defense First or Second Team seven times, Bowen recognizes the challenge in front of him and is certainly no stranger to being asked to limit the players that precious few other players can.

"Everyone always tries to come up with a new and improved way of describing LeBron," Bowen said at Wednesday's media session at the AT&T Center. "He's a phenomenal player, period. But I'm sure you guys are going to try to come up with other ways.

"It's a situation that you have to understand you don't want him going to the basket easily. He is so good in traffic. Whether you foul him or not, he's still strong enough to finish and dunk on guys as everyone has seen before. (It's best) to try to deny him the ball at times."

Much like James causes fits for his opponents, Duncan has been a headache to gameplan against for 10 years, which coincides with the number of consecutive seasons the Spurs have reached the playoffs. The Cavaliers figure to take a committee approach to do their best to keep him off-balance, but with all his big-game experience, it may be a moot point if they fail to beat Duncan to his spots.

"You have to meet him early because he does such a good job of using his body, and that's something that we've emphasized to our bigs," Cavaliers assistant Chris Jent said. "Run ahead of him, try to meet him early, so he can't use his (body) angles. He can use the angles on you close to the basket. You've got to do your work early on him."

Perhaps as compelling as the on-court battle will be the chess match taking place on the sidelines. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown spent three years under the tutelage of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and was on the staff in 2003 when the Spurs won the second of their three titles. He is 3-1 in his meetings against his former boss, including two victories this season.

"They're one of the better defensive teams in the league, and nobody's figured that out," said Popovich, whose team led the NBA in defense. "Their rotations are good. Their individual defense is filled with effort. They communicate, they try to cover for each other. And that's one of the things they do well. It's not just the LeBron (James) show."

In its two wins, Cleveland limited San Antonio to 81 and 78 points. The Spurs shot a combined 40 percent (57-of-142) from the field in those games and did not score more than 21 points in six of the eight quarters.

Bowen was 1-of-11. Robert Horry was 2-of-9. Michael Finley was 3-of-10. Manu Ginobili was 6-of-19. That's 12-of-49 for a quartet that usually thrives off the post play of Tim Duncan and the penetration of Tony Parker, a pair of All-Stars.

Parker averaged 23.5 points and Duncan 21.5 in the two games. But the Cavaliers conceded Duncan and Parker their points and prevented the perimeter players from getting into the act.








  • FINALS
    NBA FINALS
    CLEVELAND 76
    SAN ANTONIO 85 FINAL

    Jun 7 11:35 PM


  • FINALS
    NBA FINALS
    CLEVELAND 49
    SAN ANTONIO 64 END, 3RD QTR

    Jun 7 11:00 PM


  • FINALS
    NBA FINALS
    CLEVELAND 35
    SAN ANTONIO 40 HALFTIME

    Jun 7 10:12 PM
  • 10
    roots
    chairmanlau Added 5 roots

    Cavaliers vs. SpursJun 7 9:50 PM


  • FINALS
    NBA FINALS
    CLEVELAND 15
    SAN ANTONIO 20 END, 1ST QTR

    Jun 7 9:33 PM