National Basketball Association
Preview
Cleveland at San Antonio
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, March 27, 2017
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in danger of falling out of first place in the Eastern Conference and they won't have an easy time stopping the bleeding against a team in hot pursuit of the top spot in the West when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. The Cavaliers' latest defensive debacle came in a 127-115 home loss to Washington on Saturday and resulted in a tie for first in the East with Boston, with a visit to the Celtics on the horizon.

"I'm not confident," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue told reporters when asked if there was time to repair a defense that has given up an average of 117.2 points during a 2-3 spell. "But we've got to." The Spurs have had no such issues, holding opponents under the century mark three times during a four-game winning streak - the latest a 106-98 triumph over the New York Knicks at home Saturday. Kawhi Leonard's 29 points led the way for San Antonio, which has a potentially pivotal matchup with the first-place Golden State Warriors - who entered Sunday with a two-game lead - on Wednesday. Leonard scored a career-high 41 points as the Spurs survived an overtime affair at Cleveland earlier in the season.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Ohio (Cleveland)

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (47-25): LeBron James was able to play Saturday despite a scratched cornea, ditching protective goggles early in the contest and finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. He is averaging 27 points while shooting 58 percent in four games since resting in a road game against the Los Angeles Clippers, while running mate Kyrie Irving has scored at least 20 points in a career-high 22 straight games. Reserve guard Iman Shumpert was scratched from Saturday's lineup due to knee soreness, although he was able to go through warmups and could be available Monday.

ABOUT THE SPURS (56-16): An eight-point win at home against the struggling Knicks - who nearly erased all of an early 20-point deficit - was not what San Antonio had in mind as it gears up for back-to-back games against conference leaders. "We had too many defensive breakdowns," center Pau Gasol - who had 19 points and 10 rebounds - told reporters. "They were getting in the paint too easily, which forced us to get bodies off other bodies. They got too many easy looks and they made the run." Guard Danny Green was out of the lineup to rest and rookie Dejounte Murray (groin) sat out his eighth consecutive contest.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Leonard has scored in double figures in 99 straight games and can become the third Spur to reach 100, joining George Gervin (406) and David Robinson (157).

2. Cavaliers C Tristan Thompson is 17-for-20 from the field over a span of five games.

3. James needs 41 points to surpass Shaquille O'Neal (28,596) and seize ninth place on the all-time scoring list.

PREDICTION: Spurs 109, Cavaliers 104
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Cleveland 47-25 L1 28-8 19-17 4-2 43-23 7-7 31-12
San Antonio 56-16 W4 28-7 28-8 3-2 53-14 9-5 32-11
Last Meeting
Cleveland San Antonio
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
1/21/17 SA 118 CLE 115 115 47 49.5 118 46 50.0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Cleveland K. Irving 29 59.1 0
San Antonio K. Leonard 41 50.0 8
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Cleveland T. Thompson 12 5 7
San Antonio L. Aldridge 12 4 8
Assists Player  
Cleveland K. Irving 9
San Antonio L. Aldridge 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Cleveland L. James 1763 54.7 326
San Antonio K. Leonard 1765 48.5 458
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Cleveland T. Thompson 688 270 418
San Antonio L. Aldridge 504 163 341
Assists Player  
Cleveland L. James 589
San Antonio T. Parker 269
Quickchart Matchup
Cleveland Cleveland Off vs  San Antonio San Antonio Defense
Cleveland Off vs San Antonio - Points For 110.5 Points For
Cleveland Off vs San Antonio - Points Against 98.4 Points Against
Cleveland - FG% 47.1 FG%
San Antonio - FG% 44.2 FG%
Cleveland - Reb 43.4 Reb
San Antonio - Reb 41.4 Reb
San Antonio San Antonio Off vs  Cleveland Cleveland Defense
San Antonio Off vs Cleveland - Points For 106.3 Points For
San Antonio Off vs Cleveland - Points Against 106.9 Points Against
San Antonio - FG% 47.3 FG%
Cleveland - FG% 45.8 FG%
San Antonio - Reb 43.8 Reb
Cleveland - Reb 44.1 Reb