Basketball fans will be salivating to watch one of the premier games of the regular season streaming live online, when the San Antonio Spurs travel to Cleveland to take on the East-leading Cavaliers on Saturday night.
The matchup pits Lebron James and the Cavaliers, last year’s Eastern Conference champs who sit atop the conference again so far this year, against the Western Conference second-place Spurs, a franchise that has won five National Basketball Association championships — and has missed the NBA playoffs only four times since joining the league from the old American Basketball Association in 1976.
In fact, the Spurs have failed to qualify for the NBA postseason only once since 1990, and have made the playoffs ever year since current head coach Gregg Popovich — at 20 seasons the longest-serving head coach in any major American pro sport — took over in 1996. They won their most recent championship in the 2013-2014 season.
But the Spurs on Saturday will need to figure out how to win without future Hall of Fame center Tim Duncan, who has missed three of the last four games for the Spurs with a knee injury and has been ruled out of the Saturday contest in Cleveland already.
INJURY REPORT: Tim Duncan (soreness, right knee) is out for tomorrow’s Spurs-Cavaliers game.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 29, 2016
The injury could turn out to be a significant concern for the Spurs and their continued dominance in the Western Conference. At age 39, Duncan isn’t getting any younger, and 8.9 points per game and 7.5 rebounds would be career lows.
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Popovich has had either Duncan or his predecessor at center for San Antonio, David Robinson — or both — to play the big man role. But if Duncan can’t get back to 100 percent, or perhaps is forced to retire, the way forward for the Spurs suddenly looks much murkier.
Playing without Duncan last Monday, San Antonio was crushed by defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, by 30 points.
In their first of two meetings this season, the Spurs defeated James and the Cavaliers on January 14. But playing at home, San Antonio was able to prevail by only four points — even with Duncan in the lineup.
Watch highlights of the first game between San Antonio and Cleveland this season, in the video below.
To find out how to watch the San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers live online for free and legally, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, January 30. That’s 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
The Saturday game against the Spurs will be the fifth for the Cavaliers under newly promoted Coach Tyronn Lue, who replaced the suddenly and controversially fired David Blatt a week ago. Lue was 2-1 heading into Friday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
James has spent much of the week angrily denying allegations that his well-known affinity for Lue and trouble relating to Blatt was the real reason behind the firing of a coach who guided Cleveland to within two wins of an NBA championship in his rookie season, and who had the team in first place again midway through his second year at the helm.
“I think it does suck that people want to throw my name in the dirt,” James said on Thursday. “But what can I do about it? I’ve never, in my time since I picked up a basketball, ever undermined a coach, ever disrespected a coach.”
ESPN3, the online-only network of sports giant ESPN, will carry the San Antonio Spurs Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game live online, with streaming video from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Click on this link to watch the matchup of Eastern and Western Conference powerhouse teams for free on a computer or on mobile and set-top devices with ESPN3 on the the WatchESPN app. ESPN3 is free to subscribers of almost any major internet service provider and dozens of smaller ISPs. For a complete list, check this link, or try the instructions at this link if you do not have an account with an ISP that carries ESPN3.
[Featured Photo By Jason Miller / Getty Images]