NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 16th
(All times Eastern)
Cleveland (22-43) at San Antonio Spurs (50-16), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs became the NBA's first team to win 50
games, but they have work to do to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western
Conference playoff race.
They will try to keep pace ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night
when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Spurs are a game ahead of the Thunder and have been playing decently in
the absence of All-Star point guard Tony Parker. San Antonio has won five of
its last seven, but has alternated wins and losses over its last four.
"Going back to the basics and slowing down a little bit helps," Manu Ginobili
said after practice on Friday. "We are not moving the ball that much. Things
like that are happening and we need to get the ball moving again and people
moving again. Without Tony, it's a little harder."
The Spurs pulled out a 92-91 home victory over the Dallas Mavericks on
Thursday night to sweep the season series with their Texas neighbors for the
first time in 15 years.
Tim Duncan was brilliant with 28 points and 19 rebounds against the Mavs. Gary
Neal added 16 off the bench and Kawhi Leonard chipped in 12 points and six
The Cavaliers can probably feel some sympathy for the Spurs. Probably not, but
Cleveland is missing its All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving. He will likely
miss the remainder of the season with a sprained left shoulder, but the Cavs
are 1-1 in his absence.
On Friday, the Cavs fell to the Mavericks, 96-86 in Big D. All five Cleveland
starters scored in double figures, led by 21 from rookie guard Dion Waiters,
who is emerging as a real force with Irving in a sling.
Tyler Zeller had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Shaun
Livingston, who started in place of Irving, had 13 points. Tristan Thompson
added 12 points and Alonzo Gee had 11.
Cleveland never trailed in the first half, but missed a lot of shots in the
second half and the turnovers started to pile up.
"We missed a bunch of wide open shots in the second half, and they made a
bunch of wide open shots. That was the difference I thought between the first
half and the second half," Cleveland head coach Byron Scott said.
The Cavaliers return home on Monday and things don't get easier. They host the
Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference,
before heading back to Texas to meet the Houston Rockets.
The Spurs have won six straight against the Cavs, including this season's lone
matchup. Cleveland has dropped three in a row in Alamo City.
03/16 10:20:36 ET