- My 10* PERFECT STORM is on the SA Spurs at 8:40 ET.
The San Antonio Spurs left on a seven-game road trip back on Dec 31, one that opened with a 118-105 loss at Memphis and ended on Jan 10 with a 111-96 loss at the NY Knicks. The Spurs were just 1-6 on the trip and returned home on Wednesday, only to lose 128-124 to the Rockets, who own the West's worst record at 12-31 The 15-26 Spurs hope to end a four-game losing streak when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. In contrast, to the Spurs, the 24-16 Cavaliers (current No. 6 seed in the East) come to San Antonio off back-to-back road wins, 109-108 at Sacramento and a shocking 111-91 win at Utah.
The Cavs entered this season having gone 60-159 (.274) the last three seasons, after LBJ 'flew the coop' for the second time, this time to Hollywood, instead of South Beach. However, the Cavs have been one of the NBA's biggest surprise this season, even though they lost Sexton (16.0 PPG) for the season to a knee injury early on and then vet PG Rubio (13.1-4.1-6.6) went down with a knee injury as well after 34 games (he's also done for the year). The Cavs are starting a HUGE frontline with 6-10 center Allen (16.7 & 10.8) surrounded by two 6-11 players, rookie Mobley (14.9 & 8.1) and Markkanen (13.5 & 5.3). PG Graland leads the team in scoring (19.1) and assists (7.6). Rondo was just picked up to help in the backcourt (10.3-4.0-4.7 in his first three games) but he left the last game with an ankle injury (?). Lamar Stevens (5.1) has joined Garland as a starter in the backcourt recently and he poured in a career-best 23 points in the win at Utah, while Darius Garland recorded his first career triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists). Former All Star Kevin Love mostly comes off the bench but adds 14.3 & 7.4.
The Spurs are without starters Derrick White (14.5 & 5.5 APG) and Doug McDermott (11.4) because of the NBA's COVID-19 protocol against Houston. Both will be game-time decisions for tonight's contest. PG Murray (18.8-8.2-8.9) had a 32-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in the loss to Houston, becoming the first player in the NBA this season to produce a 30-point triple-double with zero turnovers in a game. SF Johnson (14.8 & 6.5) and center Poeltl (12.4 & 8.8) joined Murray in the starting lineup, along with Primo (4.4) and Bates-Diop (5.6 & 4.2). Guards Walker (11.7) and Vassell (11.2 & 3.9) are also regular contributors.
Cleveland continues its road trip here but off that shocking 20-point win in Utah, could be in for a letdown. Meanwhile, the Spurs are desperate to get their season back on track here, as this marks the team's second contest of a seven-game homestand. I'm taking the small home dog. Bow Wow!