Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers

The San Antonio Spurs (26-35) will look to keep their fading playoff hopes afloat tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-45). The Spurs are 11-21 on the road, while the Cavs are 10-25 at home.

In San Antonio’s last game, they were destroyed by the Brooklyn Nets by a final score of 139-120. That score doesn’t even begin to tell the story about how thoroughly the Nets dominated that game.

On the other side of the coin, Cleveland is coming off of one of their most impressive victories of the season. Taking on the Denver Nuggets, the Cavs pulled out a 104-102 victory. Kevin Love and Collin Sexton poured in 27 points and 25 points, respectively.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs have managed to dodge the injury bug for most of this season — until now. LaMarcus Aldridge is out again due to a shoulder injury. Marco Belinelli remains out with an undisclosed illness. Jakob Poeltl is out with a knee injury.

Joining those three players on the sidelines will be Lonnie Walker IV. He suffered a shin injury in the Nets blowout and he’ll be forced to sit out this game. There’s no word yet regarding how long Walker will be out.

Cleveland Cavaliers Injury Update

Andre Drummond and Tristan Thompson have missed games recently but both big men are expected to suit up against the Spurs. Considering that San Antonio lacks depth at center with Aldridge and Poeltl out, Drummond and Thompson being healthy makes this a much more difficult matchup for the Spurs.

The Cavs will be without a pair of first round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft: Darius Garland, the fifth overall pick, and Kevin Porter Jr., the 30th overall pick. Joining those two rookies on the sideline will be the ever-injured Dante Exum.

Keldon Johnson’s Time to Shine for Spurs

With Walker and Belinelli out, Keldon Johnson will likely play a relatively major role in tonight’s game. If his last two games are any indication, the rookie is ready. In those two contests, Johnson has 20 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block in 36 minutes, while hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field and 2-of-4 three-pointers.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Considering Cleveland’s main strength is probably their threesome of bigs in Love, Drummond and Thompson, expect head coach Gregg Popovich to counter with Drew Eubanks in the starting lineup. Popovich hasn’t been shy about starting Trey Lyles at center — but that would be suicide against these Cavs.

Joining Eubanks and Lyles in the starting lineup will likely be DeMar DeRozan, Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray.

Prediction: Spurs at Cavaliers

If the 2019-20 Spurs have taught us anything, it’s that they find ways to lose winnable games. Tonight appears to be a winnable game on paper (in fact, the Spurs are favored by 4.5 points), but this game has all the markings of another disappointing loss by San Antonio. If Love, Drummond and Thompson play, expect the Cavs to dominate the boards and pull out a win.

Cleveland Cavaliers – 111
San Antonio Spurs – 105