Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz

The San Antonio Spurs (20-26) will look to end their three-game losing streak tonight at home in the AT&T Center. However, that won’t be easy, as the Utah Jazz (32-14) stand in their way. The Jazz are 14-10 on the road, which is better than the Spurs 12-12 home record.

LaMarcus Aldridge Injury Update

LaMarcus Aldridge will miss his second straight game due to a right thumb injury. For the season, the 34-year-old is averaging 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. The Spurs haven’t indicated how long they expect the big man to be sidelined.

With Aldridge out, the Spurs will turn again to Jakob Poeltl. The Austrian filled in for Aldridge last game and had 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots in 36 minutes. Poeltl started alongside Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan and Trey Lyles.

Last game, Chimezie Metu played the role of the center off the bench. He did well enough to get another crack at it. Then again, head coach Gregg Popovich could turn to Drew Eubanks to see what he can provide and give him a chance to get some real NBA minutes.

Utah Jazz Flying Up the Standings

In their last outing, the Jazz lost at home to the Houston Rockets by a final score of 126-117. However, before that defeat, Utah was on fire. After starting the season 13-11 in their first 24 games, they went 19-2 in their subsequent 21 games. That hot streak pushed the Jazz up from the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff standings to as high as the second seed.

If the Jazz keep playing this well, they have a chance to eventually battle for the top spot in the West.

Spurs vs. Jazz – Key Matchup

Donovan Mitchell continues to blossom into a star for the Jazz. The 23-year-old in his third year in the league is averaging 24.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

Dejounte Murray will likely defend Mitchell at the outset. Derrick White, who is coming off a great defensive showing, will also spend a lot of minutes on Mitchell. At the end of the game, it’ll most likely be White who gets the assignment.

Prediction: Spurs vs. Jazz

The Jazz are favored by five points and are expected to win by a final score of 113-108. Even though the Spurs don’t have Aldridge, Poeltl should be able to fill the hole in the lineup well enough. I expect San Antonio to play better than expected against an above-.500 team and come away with a surprise victory.

San Antonio Spurs – 111
Utah Jazz – 108