After what turned out to be a seven-game homestand, the San Antonio Spurs will travel east to take on the Houston Rockets. The Spurs (12-10) and the Rockets (11-10) are separated by half a game in the Western Conference standings.
San Antonio is coming off of a come from behind victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. After struggling through more than three quarters of the game, the Spurs finished strong and escaped with a 111-108. Considering that the Timberwolves were short-handed, it was a game that the Silver and Black needed to win.
This will be the third game this season between the Spurs and the Rockets. The first two were played on Jan. 14 and Jan. 16 in San Antonio. A depleted Rockets team stunned the Spurs in the first game, however the Spurs were able to bounce back and win the second contest.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
The injury bug has returned. After being healthy for a couple of games, the Spurs are now dealing with various ailments.
First the good news: Rudy Gay will be back tonight. He missed the Timberwolves game with a hip injury.
The bad news begins with LaMarcus Aldridge. He will miss a second straight game due to a hip injury. Lonnie Walker IV is also out tonight due to a stomach illness. Dejounte Murray is questionable due to ankle soreness.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
With Aldridge out, Jakob Poeltl will start at center. Additionally, DeMar DeRozan and Keldon Johnson will start at the forward positions.
The backcourt is less clear. Derrick White is the most likely player to be elevated to the starting lineup. If both Walker and Murray miss the game, don’t be surprised if rookie Devin Vassell gets the start. Head coach Gregg Popovich will likely want to keep Patty Mills in a bench role, so that could lead to Vassell starting.
Houston Rockets Injury Update
The Spurs aren’t the only team dealing with injuries. Christian Wood, arguably the best player on the Rockets, is out indefinitely after suffering an ankle injury.
Wood was dominant this season against the Spurs. In the two games, he averaged 25.5 points and 16.5 rebounds. Expect DeMarcus Cousins to start in his place.
Spurs at Rockets – How the Spurs Can Win
The Spurs need to get back to playing good basketball. They showed glimpses of it in the fourth against the Timberwolves but, otherwise, they’ve seen their level of play drop over the last three games.
Specifically, with multiple weapons sidelined, the Spurs need Keldon Johnson’s production. He has been inconsistent as of late. If he can have a big game against the Rockets, that will really help the Spurs chances.