Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets

The San Antonio Spurs are in Charlotte on the second night of a back-to-back to play the Hornets. The Spurs, with a record of 25-34, will look to avoid falling ten games below .500. They are currently in the 12th spot in the Western Conference, so they need wins — and in a hurry — if they want their playoff chances to stay alive.

The Hornets have a record of 21-39. They are the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference — five and a half games out of the playoffs. Even though the Spurs are a lower seed in the West, San Antonio is in better position, as they are only four games out.

LaMarcus Aldridge Injury Update – Won’t Play

LaMarcus Aldridge is out for the fourth straight game due to a shoulder injury. In fact, he didn’t even go on the trip to Charlotte. Head coach Gregg Popovich has indicated that the hope is for Aldridge to return to action Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Also joining Aldridge on the sidelines is Jakob Poeltl. The center from Austria is out 2-to-4 weeks after suffering a sprained MCL.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

With both Aldridge and Poeltl out, last game the Spurs went with Drew Eubanks as the starting center. It’s likely that Eubanks will start again versus the Hornets. Charlotte is starting Bismack Biyombo at center, who is a player than Eubanks should be able to match up against.

Behind Poeltl at center, expect Popovich to use a combination of Trey Lyles and Rudy Gay. Gay has actually played some of his best basketball this season as a center.

Joining Eubanks in the starting lineup would likely be Lyles, DeMar DeRozan, Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray.

Spurs at Hornets – Key Matchup

The Hornets don’t have elite perimeter defenders so the Spurs really need DeRozan to have a big game. While he had a dominating stretch earlier in the season, he hasn’t been nearly as good since missing two games with back spasms prior to the All-Star break.

In the five games since the break, DeRozan’s scoring has slumped to 16.4 points per game on 46.3% shooting from the field.

Prediction: Spurs at Hornets

The Spurs are favored by four points, with an estimated final score of 108-104. I agree with the prognosticators and believe that the Spurs should be able to pull out a close win in this one.

San Antonio Spurs – 110
Charlotte Hornets – 106