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Cavs Notes

LeBron James officially frustrated: Cavaliers star critical of lack of foul calls after 110-94 loss to Spurs

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    LeBron James (23) drives past San Antonio's Kyle Anderson in the second half Sunday in Cleveland.



CLEVELAND — LeBron James could have taken a shot at his fellow starters, who couldn’t make one to save their lives, but he didn’t.

The four-time league MVP did, however, take a swipe at the officials after the Cavaliers fell 110-94 to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.

“There’s no reason I should be going to the line four times in a game where I drive 100 times and I’m getting hit and slapped and grabbed and whatever and what-not,” said James, who finished with 33 points on 14-for-25 shooting,

13 rebounds, nine assists and six turnovers. “We protect the shooter. ... Chicks dig the long ball.”

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound small forward had a point, but there’s also no reason Cleveland’s other starters should have just 14 points on 5-for-28 shooting, including 0-for-10 on 3-pointers.

Tristan Thompson had six points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Cavs

(35-24), who dropped their second straight home game, but he had no points and just four boards after the first period.

Thompson was still way better than J.R. Smith (two points, 1-for-8 FG, 0-for-6 3-pointers), George Hill (two, 1-7, 0-2) and Cedi Osman (four, 1-6, 0-2), who combined for a whopping eight points on 3-for-21 shooting and missed all 10 of their attempts from beyond the arc.

“We made the right plays,” James said. “We took our shots and they just didn’t go in.”

The Cavs finished 8-for-34 on 3-pointers (.235) in falling to 3-10 in games where they haven’t made at least 10 threes. In losing at home to Washington on Thursday, Cleveland was 8-for-35 from deep.

“We just had a rough night shooting the basketball,” said coach Tyronn Lue, who also had a rough night with substitution patterns and matchups. “It’s going to happen.”

San Antonio (36-25), which avoided its first five-game losing streak since dropping six in a row in 2011, got 27 points from 6-foot-11 power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge had 19 points as the Spurs won the second half 60-41, including eight in the pivotal fourth quarter, when he overpowered Jeff Green (14 points) while Thompson sat throughout and Larry Nance Jr. played just 2:06.

“At that point, we were down 12 and needed to score,” Lue said. “We went small to try to become faster and quicker.”

The reason Cleveland got down 12?

With James resting to start the fourth quarter, the Cavs looked clueless as the Spurs went on a 9-0 run in a mere 1:53 to go up 85-74. That brought James back in at the 9:54 mark, but Cleveland never recovered.

The frustration got to James at the 6:57 mark, when he received a technical foul for arguing a no-call on a drive that got blocked from behind. That came one possession after he was whistled for traveling, which negated an inside hoop. On the Cavs’ next possession, he airballed a 3-point attempt.

“We’ve got to get better,” said James, who passed Rod Strickland for 11th place on the league’s all-time assist list. “I told you guys, we’re going to have some games where we look great and some games where we don’t.”

The Cavs will have more of the latter if James doesn’t get more help.

The 33-year-old scored the Cavs’ first eight points of the third period, but the rest of the team was 0-for-9 from the field as Cleveland fell behind 67-61. Rodney Hood finally joined James in the scoring column with a dunk at the 4:26 mark.

Sticking to his predetermined substitution pattern, from which he rarely deviates, Lue finally subbed Clarkson (17 points) for a mightily struggling Hill at the 3:02 mark of the third, and Clarkson promptly nailed three 3-pointers to keep the Cavs within 76-74 heading into the fourth.

San Antonio, which got 22 points from former Cavs shooting guard Danny Green, promptly won the final quarter 34-20.

“We’ve got to start making shots,” Clarkson said. “We’re getting open looks. We’ve just got to make them.”

Up 25-20 after the first period, the methodical but professional Spurs went 0-for-9 from the field to start the second, but still led 31-30 when Bryn Forbes hit a corner 3-pointer with 7:21 left in the half.

An 11-2 run put the Cavs up 48-39 late in the second period, but San Antonio, which was shooting 30 percent at the time, tied the game with nine straight points, including eight by Green, who had 16 in the first half.

A 3-pointer by James with 1.7 seconds left gave Cleveland a 53-50 lead at intermission, but it was pretty much all downhill from that point.

“I don’t fault our effort,” James said. “Not tonight or the Washington game. I don’t fault our effort.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.

Spurs 110, Cavaliers 94

SAN ANTONIO (110): Anderson 4-7 2-4 10, Aldridge 9-20 9-10 27, Gasol 5-9 1-2 11, Murray 5-12 3-4 13, Mills 3-9 3-3 11, Bertans 0-0 0-0 0, Gay 2-8 0-0 4, Lauvergne 0-3 0-0 0, Forbes 4-7 2-3 12, Parker 0-0 0-0 0, Paul 0-0 0-0 0, D.Green 6-11 5-6 22. Totals 38-86 25-32 110.

CLEVELAND (94): James 14-25 3-4 33, Osman 1-6 2-3 4, Thompson 3-7 0-0 6, Hill 1-7 0-0 2, Smith 1-8 0-0 2, J.Green 6-9 1-2 14, Nance Jr. 1-1 2-2 4, Zizic 0-0 0-0 0, Calderon 0-0 0-0 0, Korver 2-7 0-1 6, Hood 2-6 2-2 6, Clarkson 7-14 0-0 17, Holland 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 38-91 10-14 94.

San Antonio 25 25 26 34 — 110

Cleveland 20 33 21 20 — 94

3-Point Goals—San Antonio 9-19 (D.Green 5-9, Forbes 2-3, Mills 2-6, Gay 0-1), Cleveland 8-34 (Clarkson 3-7, James 2-5, Korver 2-7, J.Green 1-3, Hood 0-1, Holland 0-1, Osman 0-2, Hill 0-2, Smith 0-6). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—San Antonio 44 (Murray 9), Cleveland 47 (Thompson, James 13). Assists—San Antonio 22 (Murray, Mills 5), Cleveland 18 (James 9). Total Fouls—San Antonio 12, Cleveland 24. Technicals—San Antonio coach Spurs (Defensive three second), James. A—20,562 (20,562).

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