Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic – Game #34

The San Antonio Spurs will look to snap their two-game losing streak tonight when the Orlando Magic come to town. At 18-15, the Spurs are currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference. At 13-24, the Magic have the second worst record in the Eastern Conference.

DeMar DeRozan Out for the Spurs

DeMar DeRozan will miss tonight’s game to attend his father’s funeral. He is expected to join the team for their upcoming five-game road trip.

LaMarcus Aldridge has played his last game with the Spurs. The two parties agreed to split. Either his contract will be bought out or he’ll get traded, possibly to the Miami Heat.

Besides DeRozan and Aldridge, the Spurs will have the services of everyone else. Rookie Devin Vassell, who missed an extended period of time due to COVID-19 protocols, will make his return tonight against the Magic.

Orlando Magic Injury Update

The Magic have been stung repeatedly by the injury bug. In addition to Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac being out for the season, Orlando will also be without Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, Cole Anthony and James Ennis. Add it up and you could make the case that the Magic will be without five of their top six players.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

We can expect Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl to be in the starting lineup for the Spurs. Those four, along with DeRozan, started last game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Who will replace DeRozan in the starting lineup? The leading candidate is Lonnie Walker IV. Other options include Trey Lyles, Luka Samanic, Devin Vassell and Rudy Gay. Depending on whether head coach Gregg Popovich wants to go big or small, he has a lot of options. That said, Walker probably gets the nod because the Spurs could use the scoring punch.

Orlando Magic Starting Lineup

Center Nikola Vucevic is the Magic’s best player and he’s available tonight. Other likely starters include Dwayne Bacon, Michael Carter-Williams, Gary Clark and Al-Farouq Aminu. To say the Magic are short-handed would be putting it mildly.

Spurs vs. Magic – How the Spurs Can Win

The Spurs should be able to focus on Vucevic tonight. To slow him, San Antonio needs Jakob Poeltl to stay out of foul trouble. If Drew Eubanks can have a strong showing, that would also help matters.

A loss tonight would be a big blow. The Spurs need this one, especially since they will embark on a five-game road trip after the game.