Cleveland, OH - Spurs have been on the road long enough that they may be having trouble remembering which city they're in. The final stop on their lengthy trip, however, should definitely ring a bell.The defending champion Spurs return to the arena where they claimed last season's NBA title Wednesday, as they conclude their season-high nine-game road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers. San Antonio (33-17) got off to a shaky start to its annual rodeo trip, losing at Utah and Seattle to give the team its first three-game losing streak of the season. The Spurs, though, posted an impressive 84-81 victory at Phoenix on Jan. 31 that sparked a string of five wins in six games. Their last game before the All-Star break takes them to Cleveland, where the Spurs finished off a four-game NBA finals sweep of the Cavaliers with an 83-82 win June 14, capping their fourth championship in the last nine seasons. While San Antonio owned the teams' first postseason meeting, Cleveland (29-22) has been just as dominant in regular season matchups of late. The Cavaliers have won the last four such meetings with the Spurs, including a 90-88 victory at the AT&T Center on Jan. 17. "The finals are over and done with," said LeBron James, who had 27 points in the latest win. San Antonio has started to play like a defending champion lately after a stretch in which it lost seven of 12 games. The Spurs bounced back from a 98-90 loss at Boston on Sunday -- their only defeat in the past two weeks -- with a 93-88 win at Toronto on Monday. "The second day of a back-to-back is always tough," said guard Manu Ginobili, who had 34 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. "(Sunday) we had a loss that hurt, so it was very important for us to get this win." Ginobili has stepped up his game during this trip, averaging 22.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists. His all-around play has helped make up for the absence of point guard Tony Parker, who has missed the past seven games with a bone spur in his left heel. The Cavaliers certainly won't miss Parker. The 2007 NBA finals MVP averaged 24.5 points in the series, with many of his baskets coming on layups after he'd broken down Cleveland's defense. Parker had 23 points and six assists in the Jan. 17 loss to the Cavs. Ginobili scored 31 points and Tim Duncan added 20 and 11 rebounds. Cleveland was 14-17 heading into the new year, but rolled through January at 11-3, the team's best month in nearly 12 years. Despite a rash of injuries, the Cavaliers have continued to play well in February, winning four of six. They suffered a 30-point home loss to Denver on Sunday night, but rebounded by topping Southeast-leading Orlando 118-111 on the road Monday. Larry Hughes powered the win with a season-high 40 points. "We fed off of Larry," said James, who had 29 points and 10 assists. "When he has that rhythm -- I have to continue to notice that. Every play was called for him in the second half. Every single play." Hughes has struggled with his shooting all season, but has played well in the 10 games since Sasha Pavlovic went down with a sprained foot. He's averaging 18.7 points over that span while shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range. Hughes scored just two points in the NBA finals, missing the last two games with a torn plantar fascia. James is averaging 31.3 points in his last four regular season meetings with the Spurs.
Pavlovic is expected to be out for another month, while Anderson Varejao is sidelined until after the All-Star break with an ankle sprain. Daniel Gibson (strained hamstring) has missed three straight games and is day-to-day.