Darius Garland poured in 32 points to tie his season-high as the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers held off the San Antonio Spurs 114-109 on Friday in the first of back-to-backs for both teams.
The Cavaliers were up by five at the half but by just 104-103 after a free throw by Cedi Osman with 5:37 to play. The two teams went scoreless for more than three minutes before back-to-back dunks by Cleveland’s Lauri Markkanen and Jerritt Allen provided the Cavaliers the cushion for the victory.
San Antonio missed seven consecutive shots from the floor and three free throws in the decisive fourth-quarter stretch.
Jarrett Allen had 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have won three straight games and four of five on its ongoing six-game road trip. Evan Mobley added 15 and Osman tallied 14 points.
Dejounte Murray led the Spurs with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Keldon Johnson added 18 points, Bryn Forbes had 15, Lonnie Walker IV scored 11 and Devin Vassell scored 10 points for San Antonio, which has dropped five consecutive games. Jakob Poeltl had 12 rebounds for the Spurs in the loss.
The Cavaliers rolled out of the gate and led by 35-26 after Kevin Love’s hook shot at the end of the first quarter. Cleveland expanded its lead to as many as 11 points early in the second period before the Spurs rallied, forging a 15-5 run over three and a half-minute run late in the quarter to leapfrog to a 57-54 advantage.
Cleveland responded, ending the half by scoring the final eight points – including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Garland – to take a 64-59 advantage at the break.
Garland led all scorers with 16 points in the half, with Mobley adding 11 for the Cavaliers over the first 24 minutes of play. Cleveland outshot the Spurs 53.1 percent to 45.8 percent in the half and had 32 points in the paint to just 20 for San Antonio.
Murray paced San Antonio with 15 points and 9 rebounds in the half.
The third quarter went back and forth with five lead changes before the Spurs carried a 86-84 lead to the final 12 minutes. San Antonio held the Cavaliers to 36. 7 percent shooting in the period.
The Spurs host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday while Cleveland travels to Oklahoma City.