The Cavaliers surrendered 14 three-pointers in their 122-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Quicken Loans Arena.
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers could not find an answer for the three-point shot of the San Antonio Spurs and surrendered 14 triples in their 122-101 loss against the Western Conference power at Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday night.
San Antonio hit 42.4 percent of its three-point attempts and scored 42 of its 122 points from beyond the arc.
"We talked about running these guys off the three-point line, making them drivers and we didn't always give the multiple effort in terms of execution," said Cavaliers coach Mike Brown. "Sometimes, you've got to stunt to help if a guy's driving the basketball or if the pass gets made here and then, you've got to recover to your guy.
"We told our team, 'These guys are the best passing team in the league.' The shot clock could be at four or three and they'll make one more pass -- if they need to make one more pass -- without panicking. We can never stop playing. We can never think that they're going to shoot the ball. We can never think that the play is over, and a couple times, we'd help and the help would be pretty good. After we'd help, most teams would've shot the ball at that time or something would've happened. It results in a nice rhythm shot or a nice rhythm three."
While the Spurs' starters combined to convert five three-point attempts, it was San Antonio's bench who separated the teams.
San Antonio guard Patty Mills converted four of his six three-point shots and was one of four reserves who scored in double figures for the Spurs, while fellow guard Manu Ginobili added 11 points on three of five shooting.
"I thought, defensively, the pace that San Antonio plays at, the way they spread you out, their ability to execute, deny counters, their ability to share the basketball the way that they do, it all showed tonight and we paid the price for it," Brown said. "You hope watching and playing against these guys that there are things you can pick up on to make you a better team going forward."
Down 23-13 after one quarter of play, San Antonio converted six of its nine three-pointers in the second quarter and took a 50-40 lead into halftime.
Ginobili anchored the Spurs' second-quarter effort with eight points and two long-range shots. His first three-pointer of the game came at the 10:52 mark of the second quarter and was the first of six straight triples for the Spurs.
Ginobili concluded the three-point barrage with a 26-footer with 1:25 to play before the half.
San Antonio continued their success from three-point range in the third quarter, and buried six of their nine attempts as forward Kawhi Leonard, guard Danny Green, forward Boris Diaw, Mills (twice) and Ginobili each made long-range shots.
"They moved the ball and made shots, so it's tough playing a team like that, that gets into their offense no matter how much time's on the clock," Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters said. "If it's four seconds, they still find ways to make the extra pass. You can never fall asleep on that team, and a couple times we fell asleep, they hit a couple threes and it busted the game wide open."
In addition to their three-point shooting, the Spurs displayed patience on the offensive end of the floor despite making only five of their first 21 shots in the game. The Spurs were credited with assists on 39 of their 43 baskets.
"It kind of got away from us, but I felt we competed," said Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. "It was a few lackadaisical mistakes just in the second half, and they make your rotations difficult every, single time you play them. They're just a great, veteran ball club."