The possibility that one or two of the stars on either roster won’t play shouldn’t diminish the excitement too much when they San Antonio Spurs visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love is dealing with back spasms while Spurs center Pau Gasol will be sidelined after suffering a fractured finger on Thursday.
Gasol was injured in warmups prior to Thursday’s 118-104 win over the Denver Nuggets and is out indefinitely after undergoing hand surgery on Friday. “It was pregame,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “He and Kyle Anderson got hooked up somehow or another in a layup line or just rebound, and broke the finger. … But he’s going to be out for a while.” Love’s injury in not expected to be long term, but he sat out the last two games after being limited in a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Cleveland went to a smaller lineup with Love out on Thursday and started veteran shooting guard James Jones, who buried four 3-pointers in 20 minutes during a 118-103 triumph over the Phoenix Suns.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC
LINE HISTORY: The Cavaliers opened as 2.5-point home favorites over the Spurs and the line hasn’t moved. As for the total, it opened at 212 and like the line hasn’t budged. Check out the complete line history here.
Spurs – PG Tony Parker (probable, foot,) C Pau Gasol (out indefinitely, finger)
Cavaliers – C Tristan Thompson (probable, finger), PF Kevin Love (questionable, back), SG J.R. Smith (late March, thumb), PF Chris Anderson (out for season, knee)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Spurs (-12.6) – Cavaliers (-6.6) + home court (-3) = Spurs -3
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Six of the Spurs’ nine losses this year have been by five points or less, including all three in January. While things are getting a bit worrisome if you’re a Cavs fan.The champs are just 5-4 SU and 2-7 ATS in the New Year.” – Covers Expert Power Sports.
DANCE TEAM BATTLE:
ABOUT THE SPURS (33-9 SU, 24-17-1 ATS, 26-16 O/U): San Antonio is well-positioned to absorb the loss of Gasol thanks to the strong play of small forward Kawhi Leonard, who was announced as an All-Star starter when the team was announced on Thursday. The San Diego State product posted his fifth consecutive 30-point effort with 34 points in the win over the Nuggets and is averaging 33.4 points on 63.6 percent shooting in the last five contests. “Kawhi was super, but he’s getting paid to be super and he knows it, and he relishes the challenges and knows his responsibilities,” Popovich told reporters.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (30-11 SU, 18-21-2 ATS, 21-20 O/U): Cleveland was the only team with a pair of players voted to start the All-Star game, with Kyrie Irving earning the nod in the backcourt and superstar LeBron James among the three frontcourt players. Irving broke out of a shooting slump with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting on Thursday while James added 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 15 assists and nine rebounds. “Obviously for me and (Irving), we want to try and do what we need to do to help our ball club win and lead those guys the right way,” James told reporters after the Cavaliers got a combined 13 3-pointers from role players Jones, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye on Thursday, “but those guys were locked in and we needed it.”
* Spurs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 1 days rest.
* Cavaliers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 9-1 in Spurs last 10 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 12-3-1 in Cavaliers last 16 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.