“I actually said something at shootaround early this morning,” Garland said. “I was like, ‘It’s going to be a good day.’ Everybody was locked in during shootaround, no horseplaying.”
San Antonio finished the longest homestand in franchise history at 2-7, dropping from seventh to ninth in the Western Conference. It marked the fourth time during the homestand that an opponent beat the Spurs to snap a losing streak.
“We look like we are fried,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We just look tired. Cup is less than half-filled, it seems.”
Cleveland entered the game as the league’s lowest scoring team, averaging just 102.7 points, but it had no trouble scoring against a lethargic San Antonio defense.
“We had a motivated team come in and we got steamrolled,” Spurs forward Rudy Gay said. “It happens sometimes in the league. Hope it doesn’t carry over.”
The Spurs were without starting point guard and defensive stalwart Dejounte Murray, who was a late scratch with a sore right foot. Murray averaged 38 minutes in San Antonio’s previous games, a pair of overtime losses.
Garland took advantage, shooting 14 for 22 from the field, including 5 for 10 on 3-pointers.
“A couple of times I got the rebound, and I was like, ‘Here, I’m going to throw it to him,’” Sexton said. “I’m cool. I’m chilling. I wanted him to get to that 40. He had an amazing game.”
Cleveland shot 52% in its first victory since defeating the Chicago Bulls on March 24. It was 12 for 34 on 3-pointers.
The Spurs started well, leading by eight points in the opening quarter, only to squander that advantage just as they did in their two previous losses. The Cavaliers built a 13-point lead in the second quarter and extended it to 32 points in the second half.
San Antonio has trailed by double digits in 62% of its games this season. It is 9-21 when falling behind by 10 points this season.
Coming off two overtime losses in three days, the Spurs emptied their bench with 8:30 remaining and the Cavaliers leading 107-83.
“Just having the mindset that we have to finish games,” Garland said. “Our second halves aren’t as strong as our firsts most of the time. Coming out for the second half, we just had to come out with a lot of energy (and) play the way we were playing in the first half.”
Cavaliers: Garland’s previous career high was 29 points against the Spurs on March 29. … C Jarrett Allen missed his fifth straight game while following the league’s concussion protocol. … Larry Nance Jr. missed the game with an undisclosed illness. … Cleveland is 9-40 in San Antonio. The Spurs had won five straight home games against the Cavaliers prior to losing consecutive contests to them.
Spurs: Popovich did not give a timetable on when Murray would return, but said his injury is “short-term.” … G Lonnie Walker IV missed his fourth straight game with a sore right wrist. Popovich said he hopes Walker will return during the team’s upcoming road trip. … Before beating the Spurs during their homestand, Charlotte had lost three straight, Indiana was a on three-game skid and Atlanta had suffered two consecutive losses.
Cavaliers: Visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
Spurs: Visit the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.