The San Antonio Spurs (5-3) face another early season test when they host the Boston Celtics (6-1) on Saturday in the AT&T Center. After opening the 2019-20 campaign with a loss, the Celtics have rattled off six straight victories. The Spurs, on the other hand, snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday evening.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
The Celtics start a small but talented five of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis. All five players are athletic and have range out to the three-point line, while Tatum and Theis are the tallest at 6-foot-8.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Although the Spurs could conceivably opt to start small, at this point, it’s unlikely that they go away from Trey Lyles in the starting lineup. Lyles has started every game and his shooting is finally beginning to come around, so head coach Gregg Popovich probably won’t want to mess with something that is working.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Report
Derrick White is officially off of the injury report after being listed as questionable (bruised right glute) for the last two games. Though he played, White did appear to be a bit gimpy — and he even needed to ride an exercise bike during the game to help him stay loose.
Boston Celtics Injury Report
The Celtics will again be without Enes Kanter. He played in the season opener but has sat out since then due to a knee injury. Kanter was the starting center for the Celtics to open the year — but obviously Boston hasn’t skipped a beat by going smaller since then.
Spurs vs. Celtics – Key Matchup
The Celtics present the Spurs with a lot of matchup problems. Can Bryn Forbes contain Jaylen Brown? Dejounte Murray will need to stay connected to Kemba Walker. However, the biggest question mark for the Spurs is Trey Lyles versus Jayson Tatum. Tatum is a highly skilled perimeter player. While Lyles has exhibited an ability to defend out on the perimeter, this will be his toughest challenge yet. If he can’t hang, expect Pop to sub early and go with Rudy Gay or DeMarre Carroll at power forward.
On the other side of the court, it’s imperative for the Spurs to get LaMarcus Aldridge going early. That happened last game and the result with a 39-point explosion. Against a Celtics team lacking size in the post, Aldridge should be able to be a bully on the block if he chooses to go that route.
Spurs vs. Celtics Prediction
The Spurs are a slight favorite (1.5 points), with oddsmakers predicting the Spurs to win 109-108. With the Spurs being at home, I think they should be able to put points on the board against an undersized opponent. If Aldridge’s hot hand carries over and the outside shooters are connecting, San Antonio should win slightly easier than the oddsmakers believe.
San Antonio Spurs – 115
Boston Celtics – 109