Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The San Antonio Spurs will attempt to win their third straight game of the NBA restart tonight when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. After beating the Sacramento Kings on Friday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, the Spurs are now in the ninth seed in the Western Conference and two games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed.
The Sixers lost to the Indiana Pacers 127-121 in the only game they’ve played so far inside of the bubble. Philadelphia got 41 points and 21 rebounds from Joel Embiid and 30 points and eight rebounds from Tobias Harris but were outscored 46-34 in the fourth quarter by the Pacers.
This will be San Antonio’s last back-to-back game of the regular season. From here on out, the Spurs will play ever other day. At the end of the regular season, the eighth and ninth seeds in the West will have a play-in tournament to decide which team advances to the postseason.
Big Test for Jakob Poeltl
The Spurs were a whopping +25 in Jakob Poeltl’s 21 minutes against the Grizzlies. Unfortunately, he was plagued by foul trouble throughout and ended up fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Against the 76ers, Poeltl will take on Joel Embiid. It’s extremely important for the Austrian to stay out of foul trouble. The Spurs don’t have much big man depth, especially when it comes to big men capable of defending traditional centers. While Drew Eubanks has shown promise, he’s still extremely raw.
Poeltl has made it known that he wants to play more minutes going forward in his career. If he can stay on the court versus a star center like Embiid, he’ll only help his value. After the NBA season is over, Poeltl will be a restricted free agent. He’ll be free to negotiate with other teams but the Spurs will have the opportunity to match any offer he receives.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
Bryn Forbes and Marco Belinelli are both out for tonight’s contest. Forbes has an injured quad, while Belinelli has a sprained foot.
With the Spurs missing those two shooters, Mills was able to convince head coach Gregg Popovich to let him play. Previously, Mills had sat out all three scrimages and the first regular season game. Although he was a bit rusty, Mills was still productive, pouring in ten points in 13 minutes in the Spurs win against the Grizzlies.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the Favorites
For the third straight game, the Spurs are the underdog. This time, Vegas has the Sixers as seven-point favorites. If San Antonio can pull another upset, their playoff chances will continue their ascension.