National Basketball Association
San Antonio at Cleveland
When: 3:30 PM ET, Sunday, February 25, 2018
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
The San Antonio Spurs came back from the All-Star break the same way they went in -- falling at the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs are fading with losses in four straight and six of seven and will try to turn things around despite the continued absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters before Friday's game that the team was preparing as though Leonard, who has been cleared by team doctors but played only nine games due to quad tendinopathy, will not return this season. "We can't cry about it," All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge told reporters after Friday's 122-119 loss at Denver. "We've been playing like this. I don't know where we're going to be after tonight (in the standings), but we've been third in the West. The West is tough every night. So, we can't cry about it; got to get tough and just make it happen." The Cavaliers are winners of five of six and showed off what the defense is capable of with new additions George Hill and Larry Nance Jr. during a 112-89 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. "It helps out because those guys are so individually talented defensively," LeBron James told reporters of his new teammates. "Obviously, (Hill's) hands, Larry's length and athleticism allows us to kind of keep everything at bay. Our league is all pick-and-roll. So, when you've got a point guard and a center that can play 2-on-2 and the other three can kind of stay at bay (on their man), it helps out everybody."
3:30 p.m. ET, ABCABOUT THE SPURS (35-25):
San Antonio remained in third place in the West after Friday's loss but will go into Sunday's contest just three games ahead of the No. 9 Los Angeles Clippers. "We definitely feel a certain sense of urgency," center Pau Gasol told ESPN.com. "We're very aware of the circumstances. We're playing hard, and we've given ourselves a chance. But for the last month or so when the schedule got a little tougher, the margin for error is really small. So, we've got to really limit our mistakes. ... The pressure is going to be on, and those (teams) are right there breathing on our necks. Hopefully, we'll get better and tighten up." San Antonio did get one injured player back on Friday with Rudy Gay (heel) logging 19 minutes off the bench after missing the previous 23 games.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (35-23):
Cleveland is trying to fit Nance, Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood seamlessly into its rotation and is 3-1 since the four joined the team at the trade deadline. "We want to be as good as we can be," James told reporters. "I think right now we're really paying attention to detail and we're executing the game plan. And that's it. It's not two weeks ago, or one week ago, or three months. Right now, we're just trying to pay attention to detail." James' attention to detail led him to another triple-double -- his 11th of the season -- on Friday with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Cavaliers SF Cedi Osman is averaging 9.4 points in five games as a starter after averaging 2.4 as a reserve.
2. Spurs SG Danny Green (illness) sat out Friday and is day-to-day.
3. San Antonio beat Cleveland 114-102 at home on Jan. 23 -- its third straight win in the series.PREDICTION:
Cavaliers 116, Spurs 110
Stats and Records