Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets

The San Antonio Spurs (26-34) will try to win their second straight game tonight against the Brooklyn Nets (27-34) in the final game of their three-game road trip. The Spurs are tied for the tenth seed in the Western Conference. San Antonio is a half game behind the ninth seeded Portland Trail Blazers and four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Nets have lost five of their last six games. In their last outing, they were demolished at home by the Grizzlies by a final score of 118-79. Brooklyn’s one win in their last six was a very impressive one: a 129-120 victory over the Celtics in Boston.

LaMarcus Aldridge Injury Update – Shoulder Keeps Him Sidelined

When LaMarcus Aldridge initially injured his shoulder, there was hope that it was going to be a short-term injury. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Aldridge has now been out almost two full weeks and he’ll be on the sidelines again tonight when the Spurs take on the Nets.

Making San Antonio even smaller is the fact that Jakob Poeltl is also out. When he suffered the knee injury, it was indicated that his earliest possible return would take two weeks. So far, it’s only been about a week.

Marco Belinelli Out – Keldon Johnson in the Rotation?

Marco Belinelli will miss another game due to an illness. Could that mean more minutes for Keldon Johnson? It’s possible. Last game, with Tim Duncan as the head coach, Johnson provided a spark during his 15 minutes of play. Tonight, Gregg Popovich is back in the big boy chair, so there is no guarantee that the rookie will get minutes in the rotation.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup Against Nets

The Nets start Jarrett Allen at center, which points to Popovich countering with Drew Eubanks in the starting lineup. However, the rest of Brooklyn’s starting five is small, including Taurean Prince at power forward. To get an extra perimeter on the court, Popovich could slide Trey Lyles to center and insert Lonnie Walker IV into the start lineup.

Walker’s presence would be helpful as the Nets have a pair of dynamic backcourt scorers. Spencer Dinwiddie is averaging 20.5 points this season and scored 41 against the Spurs earlier this year. Caris LeVert scored 51 points against the Celtics and isn’t someone the Spurs should want Bryn Forbes or DeMar DeRozan defending.

Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets

The Nets, who are 16-14 at home, are favored in this game. That makes sense with the Spurs short-handed and their road record of 11-20. Brooklyn is a 3.5-point favorite, with oddsmakers predicting a final score of 113-110.

However, I think the Spurs can win this game. If Johnson and Walker are given a chance to push the pace and negate Brooklyn’s athleticism advantage, San Antonio could pull off a somewhat surprising victory.

San Antonio Spurs – 120
Brooklyn Nets – 118