SPURS GAMEDAY: Stop in Cleveland wraps up rough Rodeo Road Trip

Slumping Silver and Black 1-6 in February, mired in four-game skid.


Spurs (35-25) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (35-23)

When, where: Sunday, 2:30 p.m., Cleveland

Season series: Spurs lead 1-0

Last meeting: Spurs 114, Cavs 102, Jan. 23, AT&T Center

Spurs’ last game: Lost to Nuggets 122-119, Friday, Denver

Cavs’ last game: Beat Grizzlies 112-89, Friday, Memphis

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Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 3-7, lost four

Cavs’ last 10 games, streak: 6-4, won one

Spurs’ injury report: Manu Ginobili (bruised sternum) and Kawhi Leonard (rehabbing quad injury) are out for Sunday's game.

Notable: The Silver and Black slipped to fourth place in the Western Conference standings Saturday night after the Timberwolves (37-26) beat the Chicago Bulls 122-104 in Minnesota.


So much for the Spurs hitting the reset button as they started the stretch run of the season.

The team that lost to the Nuggets 122-119 in Denver on Friday night looked a lot like the one that fell to the same opponent 117-109 on the same court in its last game before the All-Star break.

Even with LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 38 points and Patty Mills adding 21, the Silver and Black lost their fourth consecutive game and dropped to 1-6 in February. The Spurs (35-25) haven't won since opening their annual Rodeo Road Trip with a 48-point blowout of Phoenix on Feb. 7.

San Antonio started its four-game skid with a 17-point loss to defending champion Golden State three nights later, and lost a two-point thriller to Utah before the back-to-back defeats to the Nuggets.

The Silver and Black end their rodeo trip against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. San Antonio will face a much different Cleveland team than the one they beat by 12 on Jan. 23 at the AT&T Center.

The Cavs made some major moves before the Feb. 8 trade deadline, dealing away Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas, and four other players, and acquiring George Hill, Larry Nance Jr. Wagner graduate Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood. Cleveland is 5-1 in its last six games and 3-1 since Hill, Nance, Clarkson, and Hood made their debuts in a 121-99 rout of the Celtics on Feb. 11 in Boston.

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Still missing injured All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs could be hard-pressed to break out of their skid against the Cavs. San Antonio also will be missing veteran guard Manu Ginobili, who is out with a bruised sternum.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been the Spurs' top scorer in 37 of their 50 games this season, has been selected to play in the All-Star Game next month.

The Spurs lost to the Nuggets on Friday night despite shooting 50.6 percent (43/85). The Silver and Black lost because they couldn't make enough stops to take the underhand and were beaten badly on the boards. They also missed 11 of 39 free throws.

Led by big man Nikola Jokic, who recorded his third consecutive triple-double despite fouling out with 1:46 left, Denver shot 49.5 percent (48/97) and outrebounded the visitors 52-38. Eighteen of Nuggets rebounds were on the offensive end, leading to 23 second-chance points. The Nuggets also had 33 assists on their 48 made field goals.

''We're very aware of the circumstances,'' Spurs center Pau Gasol said after the game. ''We're playing hard, we're giving ourselves a chance, but as it has been for the last month or so when the schedule got a little tougher the margin of error is really small.

"We've got to really limit our mistakes. We've got to really be focused and understand the importance of little aspects of the game, like boxing out, like getting those boards and not allowing Denver to get 23 points off second chances. Those things are critical."

The Spurs dropped to fourth in the Western Conference standings Saturday night after the Minnesota Timberwolves (37-26) beat Chicago 122-104 Saturday night in Minneapolis. San Antonio, which has been third most of the season, now trails Minnesota by a half-game.

Three other teams behind the Spurs have 26 losses and one has 27.

"It's getting smaller, and smaller and smaller," Gasol said, referring to San Antonio's margin of error. "The pressure is going to be on and those guys that are right behind us, they're right there, breathing down our necks."

The Spurs have the league's toughest schedule in the stretch run of the season, with 18 of their remaining 22 games against teams above .500. But the good news for the Silver and Black is that after Sunday, they play nine of the next 12 games at home, where they are 22-6 this season.

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Up next for the Spurs after Sunday's game: vs. New Orleans, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center