Search News
Close this search box.

Leonard scores 25 as Spurs dismantle ailing Cavaliers

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Author: APTue, 2017-03-28 14:43ID: 1490690692845597600SAN ANTONIO: The Cavaliers acknowledged having heavy legs, yet there is something far weightier on the minds of the defending NBA champions.Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches this season and there is little time to fix it.Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cavs 103-74 on Monday night in a much-anticipated showdown that turned into a major letdown for Cleveland.“The way we’ve been struggling, (the Spurs are) the last team that you want to play,” said LeBron James, who was fine after taking an elbow to the neck. “A well-oiled machine like this, they exploit everything that you’re not doing well at that point in time of the season and right now we’re not playing good basketball.”James, who finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes, said he will play Thursday at Chicago.Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers have nine games remaining, all against teams in the East, including a visit to Boston on April 5.James said the standings “always matter,” but playing more consistently is far more important and he refused to blame injuries or an arduous schedule for the team’s troubles.“It matters more that we’re playing better basketball than where we’re at,” he said. “If that results in us having the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed, 3 or whatever the hell it is, we need to play better basketball. That’s what it comes down to.”What Cleveland is seeking, the Spurs have already found.San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league’s best record entering a home game against the Warriors on Wednesday.The Spurs have won five straight and eight of 10 after sweeping the season series with the Cavaliers.San Antonio led by as many as 33 to the delight of the sold-out crowd, and the Spurs’ bench outscored the Cavaliers’ reserves 49-24.Cleveland, which was already without injured Iman Shumpert, received more bad news Monday morning when it was announced that Kyle Korver will miss at least two more games with a sore left foot.Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than rest them, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of the Cav’s second lopsided loss in the past two weeks.Lue said he has considered resting his stars over the team’s final nine games, which James is not in favor of.“Coach is going to have his logic of things, but we need to play,” he said.James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt. He remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench.James left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout, but said afterward he was fine.THUNDER 92, MAVERICKS 91: Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper with seven seconds left as Oklahoma City erased a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes to beat Dallas.Westbrook scored 37 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, with 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his third straight triple-double and 37th of the season.The Thunder finished on a 14-0 run, capped when they gained possession on a replay reversal with 13 seconds to go. Westbrook then hit the decisive shot from just beyond the free throw line over Wesley Matthews.Westbrook scored 12 of the final 14 points.Harrison Barnes missed a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, clinching the first losing season for the Mavericks (31-42) since 1999-2000, the season that owner Mark Cuban bought the team with Dirk Nowitzki, who is still with the team, in his second year.The Thunder (42-31) won for the seventh time in nine games since a four-game losing streak that matched a season high.KNICKS 109, PISTONS 95: Derrick Rose scored 27 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 25 as New York handed Detroit another damaging defeat.Carmelo Anthony added 21 points for the Knicks after missing two games with a sore left knee. New York snapped a five-game losing streak and avoided playoff elimination.Marcus Morris scored 20 points but the Pistons dropped their fourth straight and fell 1½ games behind Miami for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Ish Smith had 15 points while former starting point guard Reggie Jackson did not play.Andre Drummond had 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost seven of eight.RAPTORS 131, MAGIC 112: DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points and Cory Joseph had 15 points and 13 assists as Toronto defeated Orlando for its sixth straight victory.DeRozan, selected the Eastern Conference player of the week earlier in the day, scored 18 in the first quarter. Joseph added six rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors (45-29).Elfrid Payton had 22 points and nine assists for Orlando (27-47). Evan Fournier added 20 points, and Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 15 rebounds.It was the first game between the teams since the Raptors traded Terrence Ross to the Magic for Serge Ibaka in February. Ross finished with 17 points, while Ibaka had 16 points and seven rebounds.KINGS 91, GRIZZLIES 90: Darren Collison scored 23 points and made two crucial free throws in the closing seconds to help Sacramento hand slumping Memphis its fourth consecutive loss.The victory was the second straight for the Kings, both over playoff-bound teams. Sacramento rallied from an 18-point deficit in the final five minutes to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.Mike Conley had 22 points and nine assists for the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph added 17 points and 15 rebounds. Memphis has lost nine of 13 and sits in seventh place in the Western Conference.Randolph hit two free throws with 32.9 seconds left, giving the Grizzlies a 90-89 lead. But then Collison made both free throws to put the Kings up by one with 5.7 seconds left. Randolph missed an open 3-pointer with a second left that would have won it for Memphis.The Grizzlies played without leading rebounder and second-leading scorer Marc Gasol, who missed his second consecutive game with a strained left foot.Buddy Hield had 14 points for the Kings, and Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.JAZZ 108, PELICANS 100: Rudy Gobert had 20 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks to lead Utah over New Orleans.Rodney Hood scored 20 points, Joe Ingles added 19 and George Hill chipped in with 17 as that Jazz trio combined to make a dozen 3-pointers. Utah (45-29) swept the season series 3-0 after dominating from the perimeter for four quarters.Anthony Davis had 36 points and 17 rebounds for New Orleans, which played its second consecutive game without injured center DeMarcus Cousins (sprained ankle). Jrue Holiday scored 19, but the Pelicans (31-43) lost for only the third time in nine games.
Main category: Sports

share it

Get free tips and resources right in your inbox, along with 10,000+ others

Related Article