|12:00 PM PT1:00 PM MT2:00 PM CT3:00 PM ET19:00 GMT3:00 12:00 PM MST2:00 PM EST23:00 UAE21:0015:00 ET2:00 PM CT18:00 , April 7, 2019
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio Attendance: 19,432
Spurs must keep eye on their goal against Cavs
San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers
- The Spurs have won five consecutive games against the Cavaliers, outscoring Cleveland by an average of 13.2 points per game over that time. Cleveland is shooting just 29.9 percent from three-point range in its last five games against San Antonio.
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The San Antonio Spurs know what they have to do to avoid top-seeded and two-time defending champion Golden State in the first round of the NBA playoffs: keep winning games and hope Oklahoma City falters at least once over the final week of the regular season.
That's what makes the Spurs' dustup Sunday in Cleveland versus the hapless Cavaliers so important. With just two games remaining, San Antonio can't afford to slip up against a team tied for the second-worst record in the league.
"You have to go out there and play extremely hard, no matter who you're playing against until the playoffs," Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan said. "We have two more games, and we can't worry about anybody else. We just have to worry about this next game and just keep moving on wherever we fall."
The Spurs (46-34) head for Cleveland after a dominating 129-112 win at Washington on Friday to stay within striking distance of Oklahoma City for the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
San Antonio racked up a season-best 77 points in the first half and cruised to the victory behind LaMarcus Aldridge's 24 points and 7 rebounds. Every Spurs' starter scored in double figures in Friday's win. Rudy Gay scored 18 off the bench, Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills scored 17 points each, and DeRozan added 16 in the victory.
Coming after their 113-85 loss at Denver on Thursday in the first game of the Spurs' three-game road trip, the win carried some weight.
"Denver was a game we wish we had, so we showed some grit tonight," Gay said. "We knew we had to come out and take this game, and we did. This is an important one - it's all about business and trying to get these wins."
The Cavaliers (19-61) head home after a 120-114 loss at Golden State on Friday to end a five-game road trip. Cleveland cut a 19-point halftime deficit to three points in the final minutes but could not complete the comeback.
Rookie Collin Sexton shrugged off a ragged first half to finish with a team-high 27 points for the Cavaliers in the loss. Cedi Osman scored 15 points, Larry Nance Jr. tallied 13 points and took a game-high 14 boards, Tristan Thompson added 12 points, and David Nwaba and Ante Zizic hit for 13 and 12 points, respectively, in defeat.
Nance said the Cavaliers' second-half performance was indicative of the team's determination.
"That's something that we've shown that we can do all year," Nance said. "For some reason, we play uncharacteristic basketball that doesn't benefit everybody on the team, then we snap out of it in the second half and play like a real team. I was impressed with our effort tonight."
The loss Friday guaranteed Cleveland a bottom-three record, giving it an equal chance of winning the NBA draft lottery. The only thing that can change in the final two games is whether the Cavaliers will have the second-worst or third-worst record. New York has last place clinched with a 15-64 record with three games to play.
This is the first year with the new lottery setup, as the league made alterations in hopes of minimizing tanking. In the past, the team holding the worst record had a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery. This season, teams with the three worst records - New York, Phoenix (which is also 19-61), and Cleveland - have a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick.
Forward Kevin Love was held out of his fourth straight game because of left shoulder soreness. Cavaliers coach Larry Drew wasn't ready to say whether Love would play in the final two home games.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 6, 2019