KAWHI Leonard smothered LeBron James in the matchup of elite forwards in the league as the San Antonio Spurs clobbered the Cleveland Cavaliers, 103-74, at the AT&T Center on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
Leonard took charge on offense with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists while handling defensive duties on James, who struggled for 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year also had an early steal and a block on the Cavs star early on, while sparking a 24-8 run to close the first half and set the tone for the blowout.
In the second half, the Spurs turned to defense, limiting the Cavs to 34 points after the break. It didn't help the James left the game in pain after taking an elbow on the back from David Lee on a rebound play in the third and never returned. Cleveland star pair Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were particularly limited with just nine and eight points, respectively.
Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 14 for the Spurs, who have won five straight heading into their matchup against the Golden State Warriors. San Antonio (57-16) trails the league-leading Warriors by two games for the NBA’s best record.
Tristan Thompson was the only other Cleveland player in double figures with 11 points. Cleveland has lost two in a row to fall 47-26, half a game now behind East leader Boston Celtics.