Preseason Game Day Preview: Spurs vs. Cavaliers

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (2-1) vs. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3-1)
TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS DeJuan Blair 15.3 DeJuan Blair 7.0 Manu Ginobili 4.0
CAVALIERS J.J. Hickson  15.5 J.J. Hickson 9.3 Ramon Sessions 4.8
The San Antonio Spurs will continue their preseason road trip as they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers today in Pittsburgh, PA. This will be a homecoming for Spurs’ DeJuan Blair who played two years for the University Pittsburgh before coming to the NBA.

Both teams are coming off preseason victories.

The Spurs got an exciting 100-99 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Mexico City courtesy of Gary Neal’s last second 3-pointer off a play drawn by Manu Ginobili. Can you say coach Manu?

The Cavaliers on the other hand used a balanced offensive attack to beat the Dallas Mavericks 85-79.

It’s notable that Alonzo Gee had only played one preseason game so far while James Gist and Bobby Simmons have played in all three preason games.

Curtis Jerrells is also making a strong case at making the roster. In three games he is averaging 8 points and 2.3 assists on 64.3% shooting from the field. Garrett Temple on the other hand has not been playing well. This is something to watch for in the remaining preseason games.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have used their preseason games to see where they at without LeBron James. In four preseason games, six of Clevelands rotation players are averaging at least 21 minutes of playing time.

The Spurs will be without Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and Jefferson against the Cavaliers. All four players flew back to San Antonio after the game in Mexico City but Antonio McDyess will be available to give the team some frontcourt help.

KEYS TO THE GAME

SPURS:

Offense — Blair continues to impress this preseason. His thinner frame and a full season in the Spurs system is paying dividends. He will have to rely on some offensive help from Jerrells, Neal, and Matt Bonner as they will play without the ‘Big three’ and Richard Jefferson.

Defense — The Spurs will have their handful on defense as four Cavaliers are averaging in double figures led by J.J. Hickson’s 15.5 points per ball game.

CAVALIERS:

Offense — With Ramon Sessions leading their offensive attack, the Cavaliers look smooth on the offensive end of the court. Hickson has been solid on the inside, Daniel Gibson is hitting his outside shots and rookie Manny Harris is making his case to make the team.

Defense — Blair is the only Spur averaging in double figures. This means the Cavaliers can focus on limiting his touches inside the paint. However, they have to be wary on the Spurs’ outside shooters. Jerrells, Bonner and Neal has been shooting the ball at a decent rate in these preseason games.

INJURIES

SPURS:

Tiago Splitter – strained right plantaris muscle. (out)

Matt Bonner – sprained left thumb (probable)

CAVALIERS:

Anderson Varejao - sprained ankle (day-to-day)

PREDICTION

With the exception of Blair playing major minutes, expect the Spurs to give more playing time for their camp hopefuls especially since Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and Jefferson will not join the team in Pittsburgh. The Cavaliers might just stick to their usual rotation giving their regulars at least 20 minutes of playing time.

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