Spurs vs Cavs Preview: San Antonio Faces the NBA’s Best Defense

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Keldon Johnson will need to put together another efficient night on Monday for Spurs vs Cavs
December 10, 2022, Miami, FL: during the third quarter against the Miami Heat at the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida Saturday, December 10, 2022. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs)

It’s game night again in the Alamo City. On Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs look to win their third straight game, taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Like the Spurs (8-18), the Cavs (17-10) are coming off of a win on Saturday night and looking to find the momentum they had to start the season. Tip-off at the AT&T Center is at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Watch the Spurs vs Cavs Game

  • When: Monday, December 12, 2022
  • Start Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
  • Location: AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
  • TV Channel: KENS5
  • Radio Channel: WOAI/KXTN

Game Odds

  • Moneyline: Spurs +245 | Cavaliers -295
  • Spread: Cavaliers -7.5 (-110)
  • Over/Under: 228.5 (-110)

Spurs vs Cavs Injury Report

Entering Monday’s game, the Cavs and the Spurs continue to deal with injuries. San Antonio will once again be without starting center Jakob Poeltl who has missed the last five games with a knee injury. Keita Bates-Diop and Blake Wesley are also scratches for the game against the Cavs, but Jeremy Sochan has been upgraded to “questionable” according to Paul Garcia of Project Spurs.

On Cleveland’s side, stars Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Love are questionable to play as well. Mitchell, a major acquisition over the summer, has missed the last two games with a lower leg injury. Love has been next to him on the bench for both games as well, dealing with lower back soreness. Guards Dylan Windler and Ricky Rubio are working their way back to the floor are both “out” against the Spurs. Forward Dean Wade is expected to miss the rest of the month and is out with a shoulder sprain.

Spurs vs Cavs Game Preview

Like the Spurs, the Cavs sit near the bottom of the league in scoring, averaging just over 110 points per game each. The main reason for their difference in record, however, is on the defensive end of the floor where Cleveland is allowing the fewest points per game in the NBA at just 104.8. San Antonio, on the other hand, has the league’s worst defense by a whopping three points, giving up 120 points per game.

One of the biggest challenges for the Spurs on Monday night will be defending the paint, both against the size of Cleveland and their driving guard play, and protecting it cleanly. The Cavs are one of the top 10 teams from the free throw line. Zach Collins and Charles Bassey are good for committing seven fouls per night combined, and Cleveland’s bigs Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley have a chance to dominate in the paint with Poeltl out for San Antonio. Garland and Mitchell are both inside scorers as well who are skilled at drawing trips to the charity stripe. They both are averaging five trips to the free throw line a night and connecting at better than 87 percent each.

For San Antonio, Keldon Johnson cutback on his three-point shooting attempts in Saturday’s win over the Miami Heat. Since Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott have returned from the injury report, Johnson has reduced his frequency of shots from deep, providing the turn around in overall shooting percentage. Continuing to share the load will be key to his development moving forward and possibly reignite the team-oriented offensive approach that helped San Antonio start the season 5-2.

All stats are from NBA.com.

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