Spurs face East's best in LeBron, Cavs on Monday night

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. Kawhi Leonard's 29 points led the way for San Antonio, which has a potentially pivotal matchup with the first-place Golden State Warriors - who entered Sunday with a two-game lead - on Wednesday.

ABOUT THE SPURS (56-16): An eight-point win at home against the struggling Knicks - who almost erased all of an early 20-point deficit - was not what San Antonio had in mind as it gears up for back-to-back games against conference leaders.

The Golden State Warriors have clinched homecourt advantage in The Finals against any Eastern Conference foe should they reach that stage of the playoffs. After briefly taking the top seed from the Golden State Warriors a couple of weeks ago, the Spurs lost two games before recovering for a ideal 3-0 last week. The Cavs, on the brink of surrendering the top seed to Boston Celtics, have lost seven of their last 10 games and are fresh off a 127-115 home defeat against the Washington Wizards.

San Antonio also won the first meeting with Cleveland on the road 118-115 as a 3.5-point road underdog on January 21 after not playing the Cavs in almost a year. Leonard scored a career-high 41 points as the Spurs survived an overtime affair at Cleveland earlier in the season. LeBron is now the only player in National Basketball Association history in the Top 10 in scoring and Top 15 in assists. He is averaging 27 points while shooting 58 percent in four games since resting in a road game against the Los Angeles Clippers, while running mate Kyrie Irving has scored at least 20 points in a career-high 22 straight games. Will San Antonio cover as a home favorite? Over the past two games, they've been exactly that. Pau Gasol is the third double-digit scorer and Tony Parker is dishing 4.7 assists.

So Cleveland has a revenge-spot for their home loss to the Spurs in January and a bounce-back spot after losing to the Wizards at home two days ago while allowing them to shoot 59.8% for the game. He had no chance in stopping James in his pursuit of the San Antonio rim.

If the Wine and Gold intend to repeat as World Champs, they'll need their bench to be at its best when the NBA's second season arrives in less than three weeks. But they have been extremely efficient while posting some of the team's best +/- numbers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without both Iman Shumpert and Kyle Korver during Monday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

If the Cavs decide to show up for the second half we will get this one a full recap, but the game is functionally over right now. On top of that, they can go with Patty Mills - who could start for half the teams in the league - and David Lee, whose work is very familiar to Cavalier fans.

  • Julie Sanders