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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Spurs will be looking for a win before heading out on the Rodeo Road Trip, but they’ll have to get through the defensive-minded Cavs first.

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images

Coming off a tough, down-to-the-wire loss to the New Orleans Pelicans the last night, the San Antonio Spurs will be looking to end their seven-game homestand on a high note before heading out on their annual Rodeo Road Trip. The homestand has produced mixed results, from a thrilling win over the top-seeded Timberwolves followed by a letdown loss to the Washington Wizards.

Tonight, they will face a Cleveland Cavaliers team that quietly owns the fourth seed in the East but may be short-handed at the key position of center. Can the Spurs take advantage, or will a SEGABABA against a defense-minded playoff team after so much effort was exerted last night be too much to handle?

San Antonio Spurs (10-39) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (30-16)

February 3, 2024 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: KENS 5 | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Charles Bassey — out (knee); Keldon Johnson — questionable (elbow); Dominick Barlow — questionable (G-League); Sidy Cissoko — out (G-League); David Duke Jr. — out (G League); Mamadi Diakite — questionable (G League)

Note: Spurs injury report is as of Friday; today’s is not due until 1 P.M. due to back-to-back.

Cavs Injuries: Jarrett Allen — questionable (ankle); Ty Jerome — out (ankle); Tristan Thompson — out (suspended)

What to Watch For

  • Cavs health — Cleveland may be short on big men in this one, as Jarrett Allen exited Thursday’s game in Memphis with an ankle injury, and Tristan Thompson is serving a 25-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policies. If Allen is out, that leaves Evan Mobley and Damian Jones as the only Cavs with the size to challenge Victor Wembanyama. The Cavs did get Darius Garland back from a broken jaw this week, although he has been on a minutes restriction as he works his way back into shape (he reportedly lost 12 pounds while on a liquid diet with his jaw was wired shut).
  • Offense vs. Defense — Since the turn of the year, the Spurs have been more of a middling offense in the league after being towards the bottom for the first two months of the season. It’s good improvement for them, but they will have their hands full against one of the top defenses in the league in the Cavs. There would be a bit of relief on that end if Allen is out, but Mobley is no slouch on defense and even made the All-Defense first team in just his second season. On the other end, the Spurs have also improved some on defense, while the Cavs are a bottom-10 offense, including from three. If the Spurs can hold Cleveland in check on that end, they’ll stand a decent chance.
  • 48 minutes — They’re getting better, but the young Spurs still haven’t mastered playing for 48 minutes yet. They’ve experienced both ends of the spectrums in the last week alone, from blowing double-digit leads to digging themselves a deep hole that requires rallying back from (to mixed results). It won’t help that they’ll be at a rest disadvantage tonight, so they’ll need more from the second unit than they’ve gotten recently. On Friday, they had Zach Collins back, but Keldon Johnson was a late scratch. Hopefully he can return tonight. On the bright side, least they have Wemby for back-to-backs again.

For the Cavs fans’ perspective, visit Fear the Sword.

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