Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets – Preseason Game #2

The San Antonio Spurs play their second of three preseason games tonight against the Houston Rockets. In their first game of the preseason, the Spurs were defeated at home by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets are 1-1 in the preseason.

Many eyes will be on this game due to the return of James Harden for Houston. Harden has reportedly been asking for a trade, preferably to the Brooklyn Nets or Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets have yet to trade him, so Harden has reported to training camp and will be in uniform against the Spurs.

These two teams will play again on Thursday in what will be each squad’s final preseason game. The Spurs begin the regular season on Dec. 23 in Memphis against the Grizzlies, while the Rockets tip off their regular season schedule on the same day at home versus the Thunder.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

In the preseason opener, the Spurs started Dejounte Murray, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl. Will head coach Gregg Popovich go with that lineup again or will he switch things up?

Last game, rookie Devin Vassell started the second half. After his strong showing in the opener, there’s a chance that Popovich decides to insert Vassell into the starting lineup tonight against the Rockets. Lonnie Walker IV is another player who could be elevated into the starting lineup.

Injury Update for the San Antonio Spurs

Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Quinndary Weatherspoon missed the contest versus the Thunder and will be out once again. White is recovering from toe surgery, Johnson has a foot injury and Weatherspoon underwent knee surgery in October. All three could be sidelined into the regular season. In fact, it’d be surprising to see any of them suit up for that Grizzlies game.

In the preseason opener, Keita Bates-Diop sprained his ankle. The Spurs have already scratched him from the final two preseason games. Bates-Diop is on a two-way contract, so his injury is unlikely to hurt his standing with the team. Expect him to stick around, even if his ankle injury keeps him out for a few weeks.

Prediction: Spurs at Rockets

With the regular season a week away, expect Popovich to play his starters for longer stretches tonight. Historically, Popovich will rest starters in the preseason — but that probably won’t be the case this year. DeRozan and Aldridge, specifically, will likely play more than 25 minutes. Garbage time won’t kick in until late in the fourth quarter.