Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 41 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-115 in overtime Saturday despite missing starters Tony Parker and Pau Gasol.
Leonard scored six in OT, including a game-sealing dunk with 4.9 seconds left, as the Spurs regrouped after a late collapse in regulation.
David Lee, making a rare start in place of the injured Gasol, added 14 points as San Antonio improved to 18-4 on the road.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 29 apiece for the Cavs, who had the last shot in regulation and had plenty of opportunities in the extra five minutes. Cleveland still had a chance to tie it in the final second of overtime, but Kevin Love missed a 3-pointer.
The matchup between two of the NBA’s best teams didn’t disappoint.
There were clutch shots, defensive stops, drama and in Leonard vs. James, a budding rivalry between superstars.
James helped force overtime with a 30-footer with 34.8 seconds left. James then forced Leonard to miss a contested fadeaway, giving the Cavs chance to win it, but James missed an off-balance 3 in the final second as the teams went to the extra session tied 107-all.
San Antonio did not score in the final 2:47 of regulation.
Irving scored Cleveland’s first six points in overtime to give the Cavs a 113-111 lead, but Patty Mills got a second chance after badly missing a 3 and knocked one down to make it 114-113.
Aldridge’s two free throws put the Spurs up three before James committed his seventh turnover and the Cavs appeared to be done. But James forced a jump ball and won the tap, but in attempting to save the ball from going out of bounds, Love, who missed the previous game with back spasms, whipped it behind his back to Leonard, who went in for his dunk.
Gasol is expected to miss at least one month after undergoing surgery on his broken left hand. The 7-footer got hurt during warmups on Thursday night, and his loss will not only test San Antonio’s depth but may force the Spurs to sign another big man.T