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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

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The streak's up to six after Tuesday night's win over the Raptors. While San Antonio has looked solid the past few weeks, it gets a greater test tonight against LeBron's Cavs, looking more and more like the team many expected them to be.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
March 12, 2015, 8:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: TNT - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The Cavaliers did the Spurs a solid by crushing Dallas and nudging San Antonio within a half game of fifth place, with LeBron making as many headlines for playing sans headband as he did for becoming Cleveland's all-time assist leader.

Speaking of bald spots, there was a Manu Ginobili-shaped one on the Spurs' bench in the Raptors game, as the Argentinian sat out with illness. There's no word if he'll miss a second game in a row, and, for that matter, the presence of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker might also be up in the air. The Raptors game saw the two veterans, along with Kawhi, play at least 36 minutes, as the Spurs failed to pull away. While Tony has been easing back into shape and could do with the rest, Timmy's status is even more uncertain after reportedly hyperextending his elbow against Toronto.

That leaves Kawhi as the only one of the Big Four I'd pencil in for tonight's nationally televised game. If it were a road game I might be scratching him as well and slotting Reggie Williams into the probable starting five. But let's look at this game as if most of the starters will be suited and booted.

The narrative in Cleveland has been everything that's happened since LeBron took two weeks off and returned to a reshaped roster. But while the additions of Mozgov and Shumpert have people talking about the team's defensive improvement, most numbers still place them as a middling defensive unit. Their real strength still lies in their ability to put the ball in the hole, and they've been even better at that as of late.

Kevin Love still lingers around the perimeter too much, and Kyrie has given up on being a real point guard, but with this much talent it doesn't matter so much: Cleveland's as dangerous as any team when it comes to reeling off points in a hurry. And while Mozgov was acquired for his rim-protecting and general Kevin Love insurance on one end of the floor, he's been a great beneficiary of LeBron's passing on the other, running the floor, setting good screens, and catching onto what made Zydrunas Ilgauskas' life so sweet during James' first tenure with the Cavs.

The mere possibility of a shorthanded Spurs team should make me lean towards a Cavs win, but I also can't overlook the elite play of Kawhi Leonard over this stretch. Whi can tire LeBron out on one end with his offensive aggressiveness and frustrate him on the other. If that leads to a Cleveland offense that depends more on isos than ball movement, then a Spurs defense that's been excellent at limiting open looks should take advantage.

Matchup to watch: Even if I knew that Tim, Tony and Manu were playing, there's only ever going to be one answer to this:

vs.

Cleveland Cavaliers (41-25)

San Antonio Spurs (40-23)

March 12, 2015

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

8:30 PM CDT

TV: TNT

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Kyrie Irving

PG

Tony Parker

J.R. Smith

SG

Danny Green

LeBron James

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Kevin Love

PF

Tiago Splitter

Timofey Mozgov

C

Tim Duncan


For the Cavaliers perspective, please visit Fear the Sword.

Game prediction: Spurs by three.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com