Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat – Game #61

The San Antonio Spurs will look to win their fourth straight contest tonight when they take on the Miami Heat. It’s the third game of San Antonio’s four-game road trip. The Spurs have started the trip with tight victories over the New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards.

In their last six games, the Spurs are 5-1. The only loss during that stretch came against the Heat. In that game, Miami used an aggressive zone defense that stymied the Spurs in the second half and resulted in a runaway 107-87 victory. Bam Adebayo had 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Jimmy Butler totaled 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.

Since beating the Spurs, the Heat have lost two of their three games. At 32-30, the Heat are tied with the Boston Celtics for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, the Spurs with a record of 31-29 are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Derrick White Injury Update

While the win over the Wizards was a big one for the Spurs, they also suffered a big loss during that game when Derrick White went down with an ankle injury. While the franchise hasn’t given details, it looked like White suffered a badly sprained ankle. The Spurs have already announced that White will miss the game against the Heat.

Expect head coach Gregg Popovich to give more details soon regarding when and if the team’s starting guard will be able to return to the court this season. With the playoffs beginning in about three weeks, it’s uncertain whether White will be healthy in time.

Who will start in White’s place? There are three options. The most likely option is Lonnie Walker IV. He could play a similar role and give the starting lineup an offensive punch. Another option is Luka Samanic. If Popovich starts Samanic, that would give the starting lineup more size and shift Keldon Johnson over to small forward, his most natural position.

The last option is rookie Devin Vassell. While his minutes have been sporadic, Popovich may believe it’s time for the rookie to be given an extended opportunity.

Spurs at Heat: How the Spurs Can Win

Learning to survive without White will be a challenge for this bunch. White was the starting lineup’s main three-point threat. He also brought defense and playmaking to the table. Against a physical and aggressive team like the Heat, things won’t be easy. The Spurs will need someone to step up in place of White, namely either Walker or Vassell.