Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta Hawks – Game #26

The San Antonio Spurs face the Atlanta Hawks tonight in their first game of the 2021 Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs (14-11) saw their three-game winning streak end on Tuesday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. The Hawks (11-13) have lost three out of their previous four games.

This year’s Rodeo Road Trip, on paper, should be less daunting than usual for San Antonio. The Spurs actually have a better road record (7-3) than home record (7-8), likely due in large part to homecourt advantages not truly existing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another example of that phenomenon is the Hawks, who have played at the same level at home (6-7) as they have on the road (5-6).

In the last two seasons, the Rodeo Road Trip has been unkind to the Spurs. Before that, it was almost always a positive experience. This year’s trip has the Spurs playing seven games. If San Antonio can post a winning record on the Rodeo Road Trip, that would have to be classified as a positive development.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs have dealt with a variety of injuries lately. Thankfully, the injury list is now down to only one player. LaMarcus Aldridge is dealing with a hip injury and will miss tonight’s game versus the Hawks. Starting in his place will be Jakob Poeltl.

Derrick White is sitting out the second night of back-to-backs as he recovers from his toe injury, but thankfully the Spurs only have one back-to-back on the Rodeo Road Trip (Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 against the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively).

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

We can confidently state that the Spurs will start Dejounte Murray, DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl. Who will the fifth starter be? That’s not so clear. Lonnie Walker IV had been the starter but last game he came off the bench and Devin Vassell got the start.

Tonight, Walker may regain his starting spot, as he further recovers from the stomach illness that sidelined him two games. However, it’s conceivable that Vassell could start again. Derrick White is another possibility to join Murray in the backcourt.

Spurs vs. Hawks – How the Spurs Can Win

In their last two games, the Spurs had the headache of going up against Stephen Curry. Tonight, they will have to deal with Trae Young, who will present many of the same problems that Curry did. If the Spurs can slow Young, they will have a good chance to come out on the victorious end. Expect Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Patty Mills and others to spend time on the Hawks star guard.