LeBron, Kyrie, Love and the rest of the crew perform the second half of their Texas two-step in San Antonio on national television this evening. The Cavs look to strengthen their hold on the second seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Spurs hope to hold on to the sixth seed in the West, thereby avoiding Memphis in the first round of the playoffs. Something's gotta give.
Who: Cavs (41-25) at Spurs (40-23)
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
When: 9:30 pm Eastern
Enemy Blog: Pounding the Rock
The Spurs and Cavs last met back on November 19th at the Q, with San Antonio narrowly escaping with a 92-90 victory. Joe Harris played 26 minutes, Anderson Varejao scored a game-high 23 points, and Will Cherry made an appearance. Much like Tuesday night's game (against the Mavericks), calling this a rematch of an early-season battle is terribly misleading, because the Cavaliers are so drastically different nowadays.
Cleveland's Big Three have all been very good during their recent hot streak (winning four of the past five games), but the contributions of J.R. Smith should not go overlooked. Smith has sunk nearly half of his three point attempts (14 of 31) over that span and has rebounded exceptionally well for a shooting guard (six per contest) as well. Getting a very good catch-and-shoot guard to provide another option for a driving LeBron James or Kyrie Irving has done great things for Smith, and the Cavs as a whole. Smith is averaging 5.1 catch-and-shoot attempts per game (per Synergy), more than double what he was with the Knicks.
J.R. may end up having a big night versus the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard will almost assuredly draw the LeBron assignment, leaving either Danny Green or Marco Bellinelli to deal with Smith. San Antonio has the fifth-ranked defense in the league, so there aren't a ton of holes to exploit, but look for J.R. in particular to get his share of opportunities.
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