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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs Cleveland Cavaliers

There will be a game in the AT&T Center tonight, but more importantly, it’s time to honor Manu Ginobili for his contributions for the Silver and Black.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers have a 19-56 record, and the Knicks are the only team in the Eastern Conference with a worse record than them. But the Spurs lost to those same Knicks on February 24th, and they have had trouble putting away bad teams this year. The Cavs have been playing better lately, with rookie guard Collin Sexton coming into his own late in the season, and Jordan Clarkson playing well for them. This is the first meeting of two between these teams, with them meeting again in Cleveland on April 7.

The Spurs have had issues with containing opposing guards, as Kemba Walker went off late in the game to keep the game close in the fourth quarter, and taking over in overtime as they pulled away to a big win. The Spurs have had issues with ineffective and predictable offense in the final minutes, and they are going to need to improve over just giving the ball to DeMar DeRozan and letting him go one-on-one for the final possession, hoisting up a low-percentage midrange shot at the buzzer.

But all of that is just a distraction from the main event, which honors one of the greatest players to ever wear the Silver and Black, the man who did the impossible, he broke Pop, among other things.

San Antonio Spurs (43-32) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (19-56)

March 28, 2019 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: FSSW| Listen: WOAI

Spurs Injuries: Dejounte Murray (ACL — out)

Cavaliers Injuries: Matthew Dellavadova (Concussion — DTD), John Henson (Wrist, OUT)

Emotions are high, but there’s a game to play

After Tuesday’s disappointing loss, you might think the team would be focused on the Cavs, but it’s hard to tell if the presence of Manu will be a distraction or a boon to the good guys. I think that Manu’s competitive nature will be an inspiration for the younger players, who have been missing his leadership and competitiveness.

Expect another big night from LaMarcus Aldridge

The Cavs still have Kevin Love, but I expect that LaMarcus will beat him up the court on offense and Derrick White will dump the ball into the paint, where Aldridge should be able to dominate. Jakob Poeltl should keep Tristan Thompson busy enough for LaMarcus to have a lot of success against Love.

DeMar DeRozan strikes back

DeMar had a really good game against the Hornets, but everyone is going to remember the shot he missed at the end of regulation to let the game go to overtime. In my opinion, it was more of a failure of the scheme than it was of DeRozan. If Manu was on the team, you would just give him the ball and let him create with the game on the line, but DeMar isn’t Manu, and Pop shouldn’t use him the same way. But every time that DeMar has made a bad play, he always comes back with a great effort, so I’m expecting a big night from him tonight, and I’m also expecting Derrick White to bounce back from his sub-par offensive game against the Hornets with a big scoring night.

Time for the bench to step up

Patty Mills had a rough night shooting in Charlotte, and he should be ready to knock down some shots tonight. Marco Belinelli, who has a little of Manu’s talent for unconventional shot-making should have a great night tonight.

The Golden Generation Argentinians will be there to honor Manu

Vegas Line: Spurs by 12

Prediction: Spurs by 17

For the visitor’s perspective, please visit Fear the Sword.

Tony, who flew back with the team from Charlotte, must dominate Fisher.

PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.