San Antonio vs. Cleveland, Final Score: Spurs smother Cavaliers, 103-74

With just 10 games to go in the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers (47-25) visit the San Antonio Spurs (56-16) as solid road underdogs Monday.

When I first looked at this line on Sunday night, I admit I was ready to jump all over San Antonio and lay the points.

Led by All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who scored a career-high 41 points, the Silver and Black escaped Cleveland with an 118-115 overtime victory at Quicken Arena. If San Antonio splits their final two games with the Warriors, they will be the #2 seed in the West because Golden State has the next tie-breaker with the Spurs.

San Antonio led by as many as 33 to the delight of the sold-out crowd, and the Spurs' bench outscored the Cavaliers' reserves 49-24.

Aldridge is finding his rhythm at the ideal time for the Spurs, who host Cleveland on Monday and Golden State on Wednesday, play at Oklahoma City on Friday and come back home for games against Utah and Memphis in a particularly grueling, though home-heavy, stretch.

Cleveland has to worry about securing home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference now that the Boston Celtics are virtually even for the top seed based on their respective records. "If it's making sacrifices for yourself, or for the benefit of the team, taking away things that you love to do but feel like you have to be committed more to the team, so be it".

Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches this season and there is little time to fix it.

LeBron James led only two Cavaliers in double-figures - finishing with 17 points on 7-for-17 shooting, leading the team in rebounds and assists with eight apiece. They are now ranked in the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency, allowing teams to score 70 points within the first half on several occasions over the past month.

The New York Knicks handed the Detroit Pistons a fourth consecutive defeat after triumphing 109-95. John Wall had 37 points and 11 assists and Bradley Beal added 27 points and 6 assists as the Wizards' starting backcourt made it look easy against Cleveland. He finished 4 for 13 from the field and missed his two 3-point attempts. Five of those eight games will be played at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs play six of their last 10 games on their home floor.

I like the Cavs and the points.

Said James, " When you've been struggling, this is the last team you want to play - a well-oiled machine like this.

Irving sat with James for an extended emotional conversation at his locker after the game but did not speak with reporters before boarding the team charter to Chicago.

  • Joanne Flowers