A late season meeting between the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers is more important for gauging the teams’ respective championship mettle than for any effect it’ll have on the standings. Seems like a perfect time to sit some stars if you’re Gregg Popovich or Tyronn Lue. But it looks like these two great teams will bring the full force of their rosters as they square off in San Antonio tonight.
One of the big storylines is that J.R. Smith’s return will force Kyrie Irving to guard the opposing point guard, a job that has been manned by Iman Shumpert or DeAndre Wiggins lately for the Cavs. Saving Irving the trouble of hitting giant screens on every defensive half-court set may have saved him some energy — but is Irving ready to gear up on the defensive end? It hasn’t looked good so far, according to Cleveland.com. Offensive maestro that he is, Irving’s defense is a little like the Cavs’ defense in general (much to LeBron James’ consternation). It’s lackluster, you might say. But there’s no reason Irving’s offense has to take away from his defense. He can look across the court tonight and see Kawhi Leonard excelling both ways. Cavs v. Spurs 8pm ET, TNT.