CLEVELAND (AP) -Tony Parker scored 15 points, and the San Antonio Spurs had a 39-34 halftime lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night as they tried to sweep their way to a fourth NBA title.
Again holding LeBron James in check, the Spurs were 24 minutes from adding to the titles they won in 1999, 2003 and '05.
Tim Duncan was the MVP in all of them, but Parker was making a strong bid to win it this time. He was 6-of-7 from the field in the first half, repeatedly using his quickness to blow past Cleveland's defenders. Meanwhile, Duncan was 0-of-5 and had just two points.
James, who became a father for a second time earlier Thursday, had nine points but was only 4-of-13 from the field. He came into the game shooting just 37 percent (22-of-60) in his NBA finals debut against the tough defense of Bruce Bowen, who celebrated his 36th birthday Thursday.
Daniel Gibson was the starter again at point guard for the Cavaliers with Larry Hughes inactive because of a sore left foot. But Cleveland was only 15-of-42 (36 percent), still unable to find any offense in its first finals appearance.
The Spurs took control midway through the second quarter, with Parker hitting a 3-pointer and following with a layup for a 37-31 lead. Manu Ginobili's reverse layup extended it to eight points, the largest lead of the half, with 1:45 remaining.
San Antonio was trying to complete the first sweep in the finals since the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Jersey Nets in 2002. The Spurs never won any of their three previous championships in four games.
And they were trying to avoid thinking about it this time.
``It goes through your head. You know what's possible,'' coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. ``If we were to win, we know it's over, and that's great. But that goes in and right out because you know it's more important to focus on this being one more game.''
San Antonio was trying to join the Boston Celtics (16), Los Angeles Lakers (14) and Chicago Bulls (6) as the only franchises to win four titles.
James was playing with a little less sleep than usual. James was at the hospital when his girlfriend, Savannah Brinson, gave birth to the couple's second son, Bryce Maximus James, early Thursday morning.
Parker had 10 points and made all four shots in the first quarter, while Duncan missed his four and was scoreless. James had the last basket of the period, a dunk with 1:24 left that gave the Cavaliers a 20-19 lead.
If the Cavaliers won, they would host Game 5 on Sunday night.

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Davis aims to lift visitors to victory Anthony Davis has a league-leading 599 points through 19 games. Still, even his Herculean efforts seemingly aren’t enough to pull the Pelicans out of the...
Thumbnail Whiteside takes his one-man show to Rip City After a 2-8 start out of the gate, Miami has righted itself quite nicely. But will Erik Spoelstra’s crew be able to sustain that momentum in the Pacific...
Thumbnail Rockets vs. Nuggets Prediction After stunning the Warriors last night as a double-digit underdog, will the Rockets cover again tonight when they visit the Nuggets at 10:30PM...
Thumbnail Butler aims to keep scorching nets The Cavaliers are coming off back-to-back losses heading into tonight’s game at Chicago. Can LeBron James & Co. get back on track in...
Thumbnail Pistons vs. Hawks Pick Can the Detroit Pistons continue their current hot streak on the road when they face the Atlanta Hawks tonight at 8PM...
More inNBA Articles  

NBA Team Pages