The San Antonio Spurs, who have dropped seven of their past nine games, will host the Cleveland Cavaliers, losers of five straight, on Monday in matchup of teams desperate for a victory.
Someone has to win, and with San Antonio’s recent play against teams with losing records, you might say that the odds favor Cleveland.
Monday’s game will conclude a franchise-high, nine-game homestand for the Spurs that has been disastrous. San Antonio has won just twice in eight games on the extended stint of home contests and has dropped two straight, both in overtime, to teams it was favored to beat.
The latest loss was a 139-133 extra-period setback against struggling Indiana on Saturday. The Pacers, who were missing four key players, were playing the second game of a home-road back-to-back and had lost three straight games before heading into San Antonio.
Instead, it was the Spurs who sputtered, especially on defense, allowing Indiana to post its highest scoring game of the season.
“We just can’t give up 139 points. … The 139 points killed us,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said after Saturday’s loss. “End of story.”
The Spurs have allowed opponents to score 132 points or more four times on the homestand.
DeMar DeRozan had 25 points for San Antonio in Saturday’s defeat.
Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray scored 20 each for the Spurs while Derrick White added 18 points, Patty Mills had 16, and Rudy Gay tallied 15. Jakob Poeltl contributed 14 points and 13 rebounds, recording his 10th double-double of the season. Johnson also had a double-double with 10 rebounds in the loss.
“We’ve just got to communicate better,” Johnson said afterward. “Communicate better, guard better. It’s all things that we can fix and get better at.”
The Cavaliers fly into San Antonio after a 115-101 loss at Miami on Saturday. Cleveland trailed 67-54 at the half and never got closer than five points in the second half despite picking up its defensive intensity.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said following the loss. “We did a phenomenal job in that second half. I thought our scrap and our grit was much better. You’re playing a caliber team like Miami with the weapons that they have, you’ve got to play for 48 (minutes). There were just small plays that I thought early kind of let us down.”
Collin Sexton scored 26 points while Taurean Prince finished with a season-best 19 points for Cleveland, which has played five of its past six games on the road and has lost four of those.
Isaac Okoro finished with a career-high 17 points for the Cavaliers in Saturday’s loss, with Darius Garland scoring 12 and Kevin Love adding 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the campaign in just his sixth game.
It was the first time that Cleveland scored 100 or more points in its past five outings. The Cavaliers are averaging just 90.8 points per game over their five-game losing streak and only 102.7 points per game for the season, the worst average in the NBA.
Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game for the Cavaliers as he recovers from a concussion, and Larry Nance Jr. was out for a third consecutive contest with an illness.
–Field Level Media