|Spurs lead Cavs 40-38 at halftime of Game 3|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2007 16:29|
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) -Tony Parker made a layup as the halftime buzzer sounded, giving the San Antonio Spurs a 40-38 lead over the Cavaliers on Tuesday night in Game 3, the first NBA finals game in Cleveland.
Parker's floater gave him eight points - all in the second quarter - and capped a 10-0 run by the Spurs, who entered the game with a 2-0 series lead.
LeBron James scored nine points for the Cavaliers, but spent the final few minutes of the half on the bench with three fouls.
The Spurs' superstar, Tim Duncan, was also on the bench with three fouls when the half ended
Bruce Bowen led San Antonio with nine points on three 3-pointers and Duncan had eight points.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had eight points for Cleveland.
The Cavs made a change to their starting lineup and their offensive scheme, and both paid off early. Rookie Daniel Gibson started in place of Larry Hughes, who hasn't been a factor in the series while battling a sore foot.
Gibson scored seven points, but having his speed on the floor helped the Cavs finally contain Parker early in the game. He averaged 28.5 points in the first two games, but didn't have a field goal until midway through the second quarter.
Cleveland was also getting James more touches in the post, where he could use his size and strength advantages against Bowen.
After waiting more than 35 years to get to this point, Cleveland fans decked out in red with white towels on their chairs were into it well before the start. They chanted ``Boobie!'' when Gibson was shown on the overhead video board during warmups and booed loudly when Duncan was shown during a highlight montage of famous NBA finals moments.
Flashing red lights and some pyrotechnics made for a spectacular pregame show - and perhaps drained the building of some of its power. The power frequently went out along the press rows, temporarily knocking off the stat monitors.
Once all that was done, the Cavs delivered their strongest first half of the series.
Perhaps too hyped up, the Cavs missed eight of their first nine shots but made up by making the hustle plays they lacked in San Antonio, grabbing 10 rebounds in that span. They outrebounded the Spurs 26-20 in the half after getting badly beaten on the boards in Texas.
Cleveland led 18-16 after one quarter, with both teams shooting under 39 percent. But an ugly game was fine with the Cavs after the Spurs ran them off the floor in the first half of Game 2.
The Cavs pushed their lead to eight when Gibson had a steal and a layup after he and Sasha Pavlovic perfectly executed a fast break to make it 38-30 with under 3 minutes left in the half. But Brent Barry and Robert Horry hit 3-pointers as the Spurs ran off eight in a row to tie it with 31 seconds remaining, setting up Parker's go-ahead basket.
Game 4 is Thursday night. The Cavs needed to win one of the next two to force a Game 5 here on Sunday.