Mike Popovich's notes from the Cavs' Game 3 experience.

Larry Hughes gutted out the first two games of the NBA Finals, but pain got the best of the Cavaliers guard.


Hughes was inactive for Game 3 on Tuesday against San Antonio because of an injured left heel that has bothered him since the Eastern Conference finals. It was the first postseason game Hughes missed.


Daniel Gibson started at point guard in place of Hughes.


Hughes was unavailable for comment before the game, but he told reporters at the morning shootaround the pain in his heel has increased. He strained the plantar fascia in his heel during Game 3 against the Pistons.


During the Finals, Hughes chose not to take shots to help numb the pain in his heel. He scored just two points on 1-of-10 shooting and had just two assists in the first two games.


Gibson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since March 1. A toe sprain suffered by the rookie from the University of Texas paved the way for Hughes to move to point guard.


“Daniel is really poised,” Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown said. “That’s given me the confidence in him from Day 1.”


Gibson averaged 15.5 points in the first two games. In the opener, he shot 7-of-9 from the field and had four assists and four steals.


He also has the quickness to help slow Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who burnt the Cavs in Games 1 and 2.


Brown also activated veteran David Wesley and rookie Shannon Brown but said he likely would put neither on Parker.


Ira Newble was inactive for the first time in the Finals.


Too, too Many


LeBron James was not happy with the way he has taken care of the ball in the series. He committed six turnovers in each of the first two games.


“It makes me key on possessions and how important every possession is,” James said. “If I’m going to make the best decisions for our team, I can’t go out there make unforced turnovers.”


Been There Before


The Spurs expected to face a loud, energized Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday, but Head Coach Gregg Popovich said it is really nothing new for his players.


“They’ve been in a lot of loud arenas, and they’re able to just concentrate on playing the game,” Popovich said before tip-off. “All the hoopla around it doesn’t really affect them. If we play poorly tonight, it won’t be because of the crowd. And if we play well, I don’t think it’ll be because they tuned the crowd out purposefully.”


Reach Repository sports writer Mike Popovich at (330) 580-8341 or e-mail: mike.popovich@cantonrep.com.