Spurs continue record start by pounding Cavs

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- For a team to get on a streak and keep it rolling it takes a complete effort. The San Antonio Spurs got that and more Saturday as they moved on top of the Western Conference standings with an easy 126-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Guard Danny Green had 17 points to lead the Spurs to their 10th straight victory.
Off to their best start in franchise history, the Spurs (12-1) had four other players in double figures, including starting guard Tony Parker with 12 points and center Tiago Splitter with 10.
Guards Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli came off the bench to score 15 and 10, respectively, for the Spurs, who have won their last eight games by an average of 15 points.
"Just keeping focus," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of challenges of the game. "You know they are not as bad as it seemed tonight. We are not as good as it seemed."
The Cavaliers (4-10), who lost their last six of seven games, were led by center Andrew Bynum who had 16 points. Guards Kyrie Irving added 15, Dion Waiters 11 and Matthew Dellavedova 12.
The Spurs had their most complete performance of the season from beginning to end, behind an offense that was in sync shooting 67 percent (16 of 24) behind the arc and 58 percent (46 of 80) from the field. All 13 Spurs players scored.
"For sure, it's good when everyone can get hot. Usually it's Danny Green that gets hot," Mills said on the team's stellar shooting. "But it's good when everyone else can kind of chip in and make three's too. That's always a good feeling."
With their offense in gear, the Spurs would push the lead to a game-high 43-points when Green connected one of his five 3-pointers, making 75-32 with 10 minutes in the third.
As they entered the fourth quarter, Popovich opted to rest this Big Three -- Parker, forward Tim Duncan and guard Manu Ginobili -- for the remainder of the game.
They earned their rest by starting off hot from the 3-point line, hitting 5 of 8 in the first quarter, and taking a 30-21 lead.
The Spurs put the game out of reach in the second quarter, outscoring the Cavaliers 33-11. When Parker hit a 17-foot jump shot with 29 seconds left, the Spurs had built a 35-point lead. San Antonio went into the locker room up 65-32, with Parker and Splitter both scoring 10 points in the half.
"We made shots. The first half, we were on fire. That really helps," Popovich said. "You make shots and it makes everything else look really easy. I expected the effort and the execution, but you never know if you're going to make shots or not."
Cleveland, coming off a loss Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans, had 15 field goals through the first two periods.
"I knew it was going to be hard," Irving stated. "Everybody put all these expectations on us and guys kind of get comfortable, but winning is hard to do in this league. We have to realize that, not only at home but on the road, it's that much more important for us to have focus level game-to-game."
Bynum, who had 10 points at the half, started strong, cutting the lead to two when his short jumper rattled in, making it 13-11 in the first. It was the closest Cleveland would be for the rest of the game.
The Cavs bench, which has been averaging 34 points a game, got extended minutes and scored 46.
"Good, old-fashioned behind kicking," Cleveland coach Mike Brown stated on his young team's loss. "We didn't do anything well. The only positive I think we got out of it is that we got to see how to play the game of basketball the right way. We got to see a team do what a team is supposed to do."
NOTES: Cleveland's defense has stepped it up this year, allowing teams to shoot only .437 from the field which is third best in the Eastern Conference and eighth in the NBA. ... Spurs F Boris Diaw was scratched before the game, out with a right rib contusion. Diaw suffered the injury in Friday night's contest with the Memphis Grizzlies when he fell into photographer's row. He is averaging 11.1 points off the bench. ...Cleveland coach Mike Brown is familiar with San Antonio. He spent three seasons (2000-03) as an assistant coach under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. ... The Spurs are atop the Western Conference standings in large part because they are taking care of the ball. They rank fifth in fewest turnovers (14.1) and sixth in assists (24.2).

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