|Spurs lead Cavs at halftime, no field goals for James|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 June 2007 16:38|
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -The San Antonio Spurs held LeBron James without a field goal in the first half and led the Cleveland Cavaliers 40-35 in Game 1 of the NBA finals on Thursday night.
Tim Duncan scored 14 points and Tony Parker had 12 for the Spurs, who mostly relied on their defense while occasionally struggling offensively in their first game in more than a week.
James was 0-for-7 from the field midway through his first NBA finals appearance, scoring four points on free throws and committing two turnovers. Sasha Pavlovic scored eight points and Daniel Gibson had seven to keep Cleveland close, but the Cavs shot only 36 percent (13-of-36).
The Spurs are playing for their fourth championship since 1999, while the Cavs are in the finals for the first time. Though San Antonio is the clear favorite, Cleveland is hoping a defense patterned after the Spurs - Cavs coach Mike Brown was an assistant to Gregg Popovich here for three years - and plenty of James on offense would be enough to pull the upset
But as great as James is, that can probably only happen if his supporting cast plays well.
``You don't get here alone,'' commissioner David Stern said before the game. ``Not even the greatest of the great get here alone.''
But it was James, not his teammates, who struggled to get going.
Duncan sent James' second shot right back at him, and James then had to force a 3-pointer as the shot clock was set to expire. He had a gaffe in the second quarter when his attempt at a crosscourt pass hit the rim and flew back over his head into the seats.
With Cavs counterpart Larry Hughes battling a sore foot, the speedy Parker started aggressively, driving into the lane and setting up easy chances for himself or Duncan, the three-time finals MVP who began his quest for a fourth by shooting 5-of-8 in the first half.
Parker landed hard after getting fouled on a drive to the hoop midway through the first quarter, with Pavlovic landing on top of him. But he quickly shook that off and shot 6-of-13 and had five assists in the half.
Shortly after another champion, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, sang the national anthem, the Spurs started quickly.
San Antonio made seven of its first nine shots, starting with the first finals points of Michael Finley's 12-year career. Parker and Duncan took over from there as the Spurs pushed the lead to 16-10 on Duncan's free throws with 6:17 remaining in the quarter.
The defenses took over from there
Cleveland missed nine of its final 10 shots in the first period and finished 6-of-18. James missed all four attempts, but the Cavs trailed only 20-15. They took a three-point lead midway through the second before Parker and Duncan keyed a run that gave the Spurs a 33-26 lead with a little more than 3 minutes to play in the half.
Game 2 is Sunday night before the NBA finals move to Cleveland for the first time on Tuesday.