Will Larry Hughes play? Can Daniel Gibson play well in his place?

Larry Hughes was caught between what he really wanted to do and the reality of his sore left foot before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.


Unfortunately for the Cavaliers guard, reality won out.


“We just kind of decided that somebody else’s two feet are better than mine,” Hughes said.


Hughes sat out Tuesday’s 75-72 loss to San Antonio after experiencing increased pain in the heel muscle he partially tore in the Eastern Conference finals. Daniel Gibson started at point guard in his place.


It was the first game Hughes missed since he injured his foot. He stopped taking shots to help numb the pain at the start of the Finals.


Hughes thought a lot about whether or not he could play in Game 3, even for a few minutes as a backup. The decision to not play was tough.


“I just rationalized it and was real with myself, weighing out the pros and cons of the situation,” Hughes said.


Hughes is not ruling himself out of Game 4 tonight.


“It’s a day-to-day process,” he said. “It has always been what’s best for the team and what’s best for myself. I’m continuing to try to get treatment. There’s a short amount of time left, but I still have to go through the process.”


Off the Mark


Gibson really struggled in Game 3. The 6-foot-2 rookie missed all five of his three-point attempts and finished with just two points on 1-of-10 shooting.


“The shots I was taking are shots I’m capable of making,” Gibson said. “I have to step in, be confident and knock them down.”


Gibson has had success as a backup during the playoffs, but he said there is no difference between starting and coming off the bench.


“When you’re out there on the floor, you have an opportunity to get a feel for the game,” he said. “And when you’re on the bench, you get that same opportunity. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing what you need to do.”


Instant Replay


LeBron James was seen on replays saying he was fouled by the Spurs’ Bruce Bowen on his tying three-point attempt in the final seconds Tuesday. James called it “incidental contact” after the game and said Wednesday he did not want to use it as an excuse.


“We had opportunities where we could have made shots and not put ourselves in a position to be down three with five seconds to play,” James said. “I think we all know there was some contact, but that’s neither here nor there.”


Bowen wanted to keep James from being in a position to tie the game.


“It was my intent for him not to shoot a three-pointer,” he said. “He got off the three. He got away from me quickly.”


Rewriting a Record


Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ 10 offensive rebounds in Game 3 broke the Cavs’ single-game playoff record of nine held by John “Hot Rod” Williams since 1992. Ilgauskas also became the first player in eight years to grab at least 18 total rebounds in a Finals game.


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