SAN ANTONIO – Thanks to a huge third quarter from DeMar DeRozan, the Spurs were able to pull off a win on a night they honored Manu Ginobili, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-110.
DeRozan scored 17 points in the quarter and finished the night with 25.
The Spurs were sloppy in the first half, especially on defense.
The Cavs took advantage, cutting to the basket for layups and hitting open 3-pointers.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich tried several combinations in the first half to find something that worked.
Lonnie Walker IV made a rare appearance in the first half with 2:42 left.
Dante Cunningham also got first half playing time. The Spurs were down 53-44 at the half.
But in the third quarter, the team got aggressive, especially DeRozan, who put together some of his patented dribble drive layups and fadeaways. The Spurs outscored the Cavs 40-28 in the third.
"We just came out with more of a conscious effort of being more aggressive," said DeRozan.
One thing that helped them be more aggressive, a talk from Popovich at halftime.
"Nothing crushed me more than [Coach] Pop telling us at halftime, 'if there is anyway to honor Manu on a night like this, it's go b---s to the wall and lay it all on the line in the second half,'" said Mills.
They finally broke the game open in the fourth. Davis Bertans hit a 3-pointer to put the Spurs up nine.
The Cavs answered and actually took the lead on a Cedi Osman bucket to put the Cavaliers up 106-104.
The Spurs closed it out with a 16-4 run and on a night when one of the greatest and most creative of all time, Ginobili, saw one of his best friends, Patty Mills, hit the one that put the win away.
There was no way he was going to miss that corner 3-pointer.
"I couldn't. No, I was obviously hoping that I would be in a situation like that," said Mills, who scored 11 points.
Even though it was a big night for Manu and the team, they needed a win, badly, given the fact they were losers of three of their last four prior to the Cavs win.
"You've got to make sure given the situation we are in, that's obviously just as important," Mills said.
Now the Spurs get ready for the Kings on Sunday at the AT&T Center.