Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons – Game #36

In the second game of their five-game road trip, the San Antonio Spurs will try to bounce back against the Detroit Pistons. Last night, the Spurs got clobbered by the Philadelphia 76ers by a final score of 134-99. The Sixers were so dominant in the third quarter that the game was over before the fourth even began.

In the second night of a back to the back, the Spurs (19-16) will try to avoid starting their road trip with two straight losses. Overall, they have won only one of their last four contests heading into tonight’s game. The Pistons (10-28) have been even colder, with only one win in their last seven games.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

DeMar DeRozan is still out following the funeral of his father. This is the third straight game he has missed. Head coach Gregg Popovich said he believes that DeRozan will return at some point during this road trip.

Also out tonight is Keita Bates-Diop. He pulled his hamstring last night against the Magic and it looked like it may be an injury that will keep him out for a while.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

In the last two games with DeRozan out, Popovich has started Trey Lyles in his place. Considering that the starting lineup didn’t play well together in either of those games, Popovich may decide to shake things up. The most likely change would be swapping out Lyles in place of Lonnie Walker IV or Rudy Gay.

Jerami Grant, the Birth of a Star for the Pistons?

Prior to joining the Pistons this season in free agency, Jerami Grant was primarily known as a multidimensional and valuable role player. The 27-year-old had never averaged more than 13.6 points per game in his NBA career.

This year, though, Grant has been given a longer leash and his production has been very impressive. He’s averaging 23.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists, while shooting 43.4% from the field, 35.4% from three-point range and 88.8% from the free throw line.

Why This Game is Important for the San Antonio Spurs

Tonight’s game is a pivotal one for the Spurs. On paper, it’s the most winnable game on the trip. The Pistons have the second worst record in the league; only the Minnesota Timberwolves (9-30) have a lower winning percentage.

Beyond that, the Spurs should be reasonably well-rested — as strange as that sounds on the second night of a back-to-back. But since the 76ers dominated so thoroughly last night, Popovich was able to empty the bench in the third quarter. If the Spurs don’t have the wherewithal to win tonight’s game versus the Pistons, they’re in danger of having a really rough road trip.