Cleveland Cavaliers on Their Knees

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and left to a standing ovation Monday as the San Antonio Spurs humbled the National Basketball Association champion Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 less than three weeks before the start of the playoffs. But he got outplayed by Leonard all night, particularly when the two stars were matched up with one another.

Cleveland's LeBron James suffered a blow to the back of his neck in the final minute of the third quarter after a collision under the basket with the Spurs' David Lee.

LeBron fell to the floor at half court and was down for a few minutes.

After the game, James said he was "fine" and would play Thursday against the Bulls.

Oh, and after an elbow to his back, James might be hurt. 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.

For his part, James said he felt "great" physically.

In seven of the last 10 games of the regular season, San Antonio will play a foe likely headed for the postseason, providing a good challenge. "That's what it comes down to. At this point, we just have to build the right habits so when we start our playoff run we are ready to go, we are sharp and we are locked in and we know what we are playing for", the Spaniard said ahead of Monday's game, via ESPN. "With those two guys out, we tried some different things and it didn't work". We embedded the Twitter page here based on total winning results in this season.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs.

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.

The first quarter and a half of the game was competitive enough, with the Spurs leading by 10 after one and the Cavs keeping it around there for another half a quarter. By that time, San Antonio's reserves had scored 30 points and the game, for all intents and purposes, was in the books.

The Spurs host Golden State Wednesday night. He did not return to the game and finished 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Westbrook's final shot from just inside the top of the key connected with 7.1 seconds left. When asked to elaborate on which players might sit and when, he said, "I don't know, I might get in trouble".

"This doesn't mean anything, it doesn't mean we are going to win a championship, even go to the Finals", said Leonard.

Elsewhere, the playoff-bound Toronto Raptors posted their sixth straight victory, 131-112 over the Orlando Magic.

Marcus Morris led the Pistons with 20 points.

Corey Joseph contributed a double-double of 15 points and 13 assists.

Knicks 109, Pistons 95: Derrick Rose scored 27 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 25 and host NY snapped a five-game losing streak and handed Detroit its fourth straight loss, falling 1½ games behind Miami for the eighth East playoff spot.

Irving tied a career-worst plus-minus rating of minus-29 as he scored just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting against the Spurs.

  • Julie Sanders