Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets – Game #30

The San Antonio Spurs face the Brooklyn Nets tonight in the second game of their four-game homestand prior to the All-Star break. The Spurs (17-12) are currently in the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The Nets (22-13) are the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The San Antonio Spurs are still without five players due to COVID-19 protocols. Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Rudy Gay, Devin Vassell and Quinndary Weatherspoon will be missing their third straight game.

The good news is that Johnson appears to be close to returning. He was questionable heading into today but the Spurs decided to sit him due to conditioning reasons. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see him play in a game before the All-Star break.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

In their win over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Spurs started Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, DeMar DeRozan, Trey Lyles and Jakob Poeltl. That should be the starting lineup again tonight. If Keldon Johnson would have been able to go, he likely would have reclaimed his starting spot in place of Lyles.

LaMarcus Aldridge’s days as a starter could be over in San Antonio. The 35-year-old is now playing behind Poeltl. Against the Pelicans, he acclimated to his bench role nicely. In 23 minutes, he totaled 21 points.

Brooklyn Nets Injury Update

Brooklyn Nets have made headlines by assembling a Big Three consisting of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Tonight, only Harden will play. Durant and Irving will be sidelined with injuries.

Despite not being fully healthy, the Nets are still a very dangerous team. They’ve won eight of their previous nine contests. After being traded from the Houston Rockets to Brooklyn, Harden is averaging 25.1 points, 11.1 assists and 8.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.8% from the field and 41.8% from three-point land.

Spurs vs. Nets – How the Spurs Can Win

All the focus tonight will be on Harden. When going up against him, the Spurs focus primarily on keeping him off of the free throw line. Lonnie Walker IV has had some success against Harden, so he could be the person who starts off against him. Dejounte Murray and maybe even Patty Mills could also spend time on Harden.

On the other end of the court, the Spurs will lean on DeMar DeRozan and Dejounte Murray once again. Versus New Orleans, they combined to have 18 assists and only one turnover. If they can again efficiently lead San Antonio’s offensive attack, the Spurs will have a chance to win this game.