Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics – Game #62

The San Antonio Spurs will attempt to finish their four-game road trip on a high note when they take on the Boston Celtics tonight. Thus far, the Spurs are 2-1 on the trip — with their lone loss coming on Wednesday against the Miami Heat. In their last seven games, the Spurs are 0-2 against the Heat but 5-0 versus everyone else.

With a record of 31-30, San Antonio is tied for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies are also 31-30. Trailing the Spurs and the Grizzlies by one game in the 31-32 Golden State Warriors.

As it stands, it looks like the Spurs are destined to be in the NBA’s play-in tournament that includes the seventh through tenth seeds in each conference. The 11th seeded New Orleans Pelicans are four games behind the Spurs, while the sixth seeded Dallas Mavericks are three and a half games ahead of the Spurs.

At 33-30, the Boston Celtics have had a relatively disappointing season. They came into the year with hopes of making it to the NBA Finals. As it stands, they are tied with the Miami Heat for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and they’ve been inconsistent all season.

Impact of Devin Vassell Starting for the Spurs

Head coach Gregg Popovich says that Derrick White is out for the rest of the season. In his place, Popovich has decided that Devin Vassell will start. Against the Heat, Vassell started slowly before finding his groove and finishing with 11 points.

As a starter, Vassell gives the team two things that they will lean on. First, he’s been a strong defensive player since his first day on the job. He has great instincts and can make plays on and off the ball.

Additionally, Vassell gives the starting lineup a player who can spread the court with his shooting. During his rookie season, his three-point shooting has hovered right around 40%. He has a high release, which allows him to shoot even if he’s not open.

During the stretch run of the season, the Spurs will learn a lot about Vassell. If he plays well enough, it’s not out of the question that he could earn a permanent role in the starting lineup heading into his sophomore season.

One trickle down impact of Vassell being a starter is it keeps Lonnie Walker IV on the bench. The Spurs apparently view Walker’s future as a spark plug off the bench. That makes sense, as he can get hot in a hurry and his athleticism should be even deadlier going against reserves.