Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets – Game #40

The San Antonio Spurs will tip off a nine-game homestand tonight when they take on the Charlotte Hornets. This is the longest homestand in franchise history.

At 22-17, the Spurs can help their playoff chances by taking advantage of the next nine games. Finishing with a 6-3 record or better should give San Antonio breathing room in the Western Conference playoff race.

Interestingly, though, the Spurs have actually been better on the road than at home this season. They are 12-7 on the road but only 10-10 in the AT&T Center. That said, the Spurs are 1-0 at home since the organization started allowing fans back into the building. Let’s hope San Antonio can be better at home going forward now that their fans have returned.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills sat out in the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The guards were resting on what was the fifth game in seven nights for the Spurs. Tonight against the Hornets, both Murray and Mills are back in the lineup. Expect Murray to start alongside Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl.

The only player not available for the Spurs will be Keita Bates-Diop. He hurt his hamstring in the first game of the five-game road trip and he’s still working his way back.

Charlotte Hornets Injury Update

The Hornets haven’t been as lucky with injuries as of late. LaMelo Ball, their star rookie and the leading Rookie of the Year candidate, might be forced to miss the rest of the season after breaking his wrist. Ball had worked his way into Charlotte’s starting lineup and has been one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA this season. The 19-year-old is averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game.

Also out tonight for Charlotte is starting center Cody Zeller due to a shoulder injury. On the season, he’s averaging 9.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Expect Devonte’ Graham and Bismack Biyombo to start in place of Ball and Zeller.

Spurs vs. Hornets – How the Spurs Can Win

After winning four straight games, the Hornets have lost three straight. All three games were on the road and all three losses came by double-digits. The Spurs, on the other hand, went 3-2 on their recent five-game road trip.

With Ball out, Charlotte will likely play with the desperation of a wounded animal. For San Antonio to win, they will need to match that energy level.