(SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James is very familiar with the San Antonio Spurs. They've snatched the taste of victory from his mouth twice in three chances in the NBA Finals.
James said playing against the Spurs helped his game grow and hopes it has done the same for them. King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will welcome the defending champion Spurs to Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night.
The NBA's second-leading scorer with 27.1 points per game was asked if San Antonio has become a rivalry for him personally.
"I don't want to say a rivalry, but I've had the opportunity to be in three finals against them," James said. "I always loved playing against them and playing against Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich), someone I admire and respect so much. Obviously the big three (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili) as well.
"But I wouldn't say it's a rivalry, but I will say it's definitely mutual respect, it's great competition and they definitely helped me grow along the way. And hopefully I push them, too."
The Spurs defeated James and the Miami Heat in five games to claim last season's NBA title. James said not much has changed for him since then except moving back home to Cleveland. According to the NBA darling, Wednesday's game versus Pop, Duncan and the Spurs is not a measuring stick.
"Win or lose it's not a measuring stick. We want to play well, we want to get back to playing how we did a couple games ago," James said. "I think for us if we come out and compete at a high level, we will give ourselves a chance to win. But it's not a measuring stick."
The Cavaliers had a four-game winning streak stopped in Monday's 106-97 home loss to the Denver Nuggets, as four Cleveland players reached the 20-point mark and James led the charge with 22 on 8-of-18 shooting. It was James' sixth straight 20-point game.
Kevin Love had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Kyrie Irving posted 20 points and eight assists and Dion Waiters added 20 points off the bench. It was the first time since 2003-04 the Cavs had four players with 20 or more points.
Cleveland shot 43 percent and committed 15 turnovers for 26 Denver points. The Nuggets used a 14-5 run to build a strong cushion and the Cavs couldn't get closer than five points the rest of the way.
The Cavaliers are 1-1 on a three-game homestand and in the midst of playing eight of nine at Quicken Loans Arena. They are averaging 114.8 points in the last five games and are fourth in the NBA with 106.7 ppg.
James and Company will visit Washington Friday before returning to the Q for five straight versus Toronto, Orlando, Washington, Indiana and Milwaukee.
San Antonio has won four of its last five games and beat up on the winless Philadelphia 76ers with Monday's 100-75 triumph. Matt Bonner of all players led the Spurs with 18 points, Cory Joseph provided 14 off the bench and Duncan ended with 10 and nine rebounds.
Danny Green scored 11 points, Kawhi Leonard had just five with 11 rebounds and Parker finished with five points and five assists in less than 18 minutes of action for San Antonio.
"We're still a work in progress," Duncan said after the Spurs pushed their mark to 6-4. "I think we're starting to find our rhythm."
San Antonio shot 44.4 percent and its largest lead of the game was 27. It is 3-0 this season when handing out 25 or more assists.
Marco Belinelli missed the 76ers game due to a mild strain in his right groin and Tiago Splitter is still bothered with tightness in his right calf.
The Spurs are in midst of playing six of seven games on the road and will visit Minnesota on Friday. They won both meetings with Cleveland last season and have won nine in a row in this series.