San Antonio (33-9) at Cleveland (30-11)
When: Saturday, January 21st 2017
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: ABC
The San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers meet on Saturday night with both clubs missing a big piece entering this Saturday night ABC game of the week. Spurs center Pau Gasol suffered a broken finger in warmups prior to Thursday’s 118-104 win over the Denver Nuggets and is out indefinitely after undergoing hand surgery on Friday. San Antonio is still in good shape with Gasol out thanks to the strong play of small forward Kawhi Leonard, who was announced as an All-Star starter on Thursday. Leonard recorded his fifth consecutive 30-point effort with 34 points in the win over the Nuggets and is averaging 33.4 points on 63.6% shooting in the last five games. Guard Dejounte Murray logged a season-high 34 minutes on Thursday and had a season-best 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting and made all seven of his free throw attempts. PG Tony Parker (left foot sprain) sat Thursday and is day-to-day. The Spurs are a game and a half ahead of Houston in the Southwest Division entering Friday night’s action. Saturday’s contest against Cleveland starts a four-game road trip for the Spurs who will also visit Brooklyn, Toronto, and New Orleans.
The Cavaliers are dealing with a less serious injury to one of their stars – Kevin Love – who is dealing with back spasms. Love’s injury is not expected to be long term, but he sat out the last two games after being limited in a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Cleveland went to a smaller lineup with Love out on Thursday and started veteran shooting guard James Jones, who nailed four 3-pointers in 20 minutes during a 118-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Cleveland was the only team with more than one player voted to start the All-Star game, with Kyrie Irving earning a spot in the backcourt and superstar LeBron James among the three frontcourt players. Irving broke out of a shooting skid with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting on Thursday while James added 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 15 assists and nine rebounds. The Cavs got a combined 13 three-pointers from role players Jones, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye on Thursday. Shooting guard Kyle Korver is 10-of-23 from 3-point range in the last three games after going 0-of-5 in his first two games with the team.
I’m going to say that Cleveland doesn’t want to get embarrassed again on prime time national TV like they did on Monday night in Golden State. The Cavs will knock down the three-point shots and take care of the Spurs tonight with or without Love.
Pick: Cavaliers -2.5