CLEVELAND (AP) — Andre Drummond returned from a leg injury to score 28 points and add 17 rebounds, and Kevin Love shook off a tough shooting night to make a big 3-pointer in overtime and lift the improving Cleveland Cavaliers to a 132-129 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
Drummond, who missed the past three games with a strained left calf, put the Cavs up 124-22 with a layup and Love followed with his 3 from the corner 28 seconds later to put Cleveland up by five.
Love had missed his first four attempts from long range before his clutch shot and he finished just 3 of 12 from the field, but added 18 rebounds.
Derrick White hit a 3 to pull the Spurs within 131-129 in the final seconds, but Collin Sexton made a free throw for the Cavs and San Antonio didn’t get off a last-second heave in time.
It was the second straight close win for the young Cavs, who beat Denver 104-102 on Saturday. Cleveland improved to 5-5 under coach J.B. Bickerstaff and matched its win total from last season, when the Cavs went 19-63.
»It means that we can, the belief in what you can accomplish,» said Bickerstaff, who took over when John Beilein resigned 54 games into his first season. »We’ve shown we can put together some really good stretches against some really good teams and we’ve been able to find a way.»
Sexton scored 26, Larry Nance Jr. 19 and Matthew Dellavedova had 14 and 11 assists. Dellavedova has an NBA-high 38 assists in his past four games.
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 and Rudy Gay 19 for the Spurs, who played their sixth straight game without center LaMarcus Aldridge because of a strained right shoulder. The Spurs were also missing center Jakob Poeltl (sprained knee) for the fourth game in a row.
»With all these guys out, we’re trying to do everything on the fly,» DeRozan said. »It’s tough, period. The less bodies, the harder it is. It’s exhausting.»
Sexton’s two free throws gave the Cavs a 118-116 lead with 3.2 seconds left in regulation. But after a timeout by San Antonio, Gay dropped a 20-foot jumper to tie it with one second left. Gay twice tied the game in the final 1:02 with 3-pointers.
The first half turned into a prolonged free-throw shooting contest as the officials called 33 fouls, leading to a combined 46 free throws. San Antonio made its first 15 and went 21 of 23 from the line, while Cleveland finished 20 of 23 in the opening half.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and DeRozan both expressed frustration the All-Star forward isn’t getting fouls called on drives. DeRozan got a technical for complaining in the third quarter.
»It seems like the guys that flop are the ones that get the calls,» said DeRozan, who attempted 12 free throws.
The Cavaliers had four players record double-doubles in the same game for the first time since 1990.
With Drummond back and Aldridge out, the Cavs attacked the rim and led by double digits for much of the first half. But the Spurs, who made just 1 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half, warmed up and scored 41 in the third to carry a 91-87 lead into the fourth.
San Antonio finished with 10 3-pointers, and Cleveland had 13 — 11 in the second half and OT.
TRAIL BLAZING WOMEN
On International Women’s Day, both teams could celebrate their female assistant coaches: Becky Hammon with the Spurs, Lindsay Gottlieb with the Cavs.
Hammon became the first female coach in NBA history in 2014.
»Becky has been exactly who we thought she’d be: She’s a leader, she’s intelligent, she understands the game as far as how it all works,» Popovich said. »Everyone respects her.»
Gottlieb is in her first season with the Cavs after a successful run at Cal.
»She’s really good at her job,» Bickerstaff said. »She has a way of teaching by putting people at ease first. She has a really calming demeanor and you know by how she treats you that she’s about the right things.»
Spurs: Dejounte Murray had six steals. … San Antonio is the only current team with three players who have scored at least 16,000 points: DeRozan (16,246), Aldridge (19,575) and Gay (16,030). … Popovich lamented Brooklyn’s decision to part ways with coach Kenny Atkinson. »When this happens, most of the time it’s circumstances beyond someone’s control – and that’s sad,» he said. »He did a good job and his work ethic is off the charts.»
Cavaliers: F/C Tristan Thompson suffered an injury to his right eye in the first half and did not return. He played just eight minutes. … Rookie Darius Garland missed his fourth straight game with a groin strain, and rookie swingman Kevin Porter Jr. remains in concussion protocol.
Spurs: Start four-game home stretch Tuesday against Dallas.
Cavaliers: With their arena to host college hoops tournaments the next two weeks, the Cavs begin a six-game trip in Chicago on Tuesday.
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