Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs (-5, 211.5)
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)
LINE HISTORY: The Spurs opened as 4.5-point home favorites over the visiting Cavaliers and that spread was bumped slightly by the books to -5 on Monday morning. The total hit the board at 212.5 and was dropped to 211.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Cavaliers – No injuries to report.
Spurs – PG D. Murray (Mid April, groin).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cavaliers (-6.5) – Spurs (-11.6) + home court (-3) = Spurs -8.1
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (47-25 SU, 32-37-3 ATS, 41-30-1 O/U): 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 SU, 37-34-1 ATS, 38-32-2 O/U): 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.
* Cavaliers are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Spurs are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 13-3-1 in Cavaliers last 17 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 12-3-1 in Spurs last 16 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
* Over is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings in San Antonio.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early Covers consensus returns are showing 64 percent of the public supporting the home favorite San Antonio Spurs and 57 percent of the totals wagers on the Over. View full consensus data here.