Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers – Game #63

The San Antonio Spurs will look to halt their two-game losing streak tonight when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. After notching wins during the first two stops of their four-game road trip, the Spurs fell to the Miami Heat and than blew a 32-point lead against the Boston Celtics to finish the road trip 2-2.

The Spurs won’t get time to get comfortable at home, as the team embarks on a four-game road trip after tonight’s stop in the Alamo City. In fact, this is the first game of a back-to-back. The Spurs play the Jazz in Salt Lake City tomorrow night.

At 31-31, the Silver and Black are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the ninth seed in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies are only a half game ahead of the Spurs and Warriors, while the New Orleans Pelicans trail the Spurs and Warriors by three games.

The Philadelphia 76ers have a record of 42-21. They are racing with the Brooklyn Nets for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. As it stands, with a record of 43-21, the Nets have a half-game lead over the Sixers.

Dejounte Murray Injury Update

Dejounte Murray is listed as questionable for tonight’s game due to knee soreness. Considering that Murray previously suffered a torn ACL, expect the Spurs to be careful with their starting point guard’s knee.

With Derrick White expected to miss the rest of the season with a sprained ankle, replacing Murray will be even more difficult than normal. Who will head coach Gregg Popovich start at point guard? One option is Tre Jones. The second round pick has played decently well and starting him would allow for the rest of the rotation to stay in place, which is typically what Popovich prefers to do.

Two other options for the starting lineup are Lonnie Walker IV and Patty Mills. Starting Walker alongside Devin Vassell might not work due to a lack of ball-handling, though. Popovich could go with Mills but that would go against what he has done historically.

It’s unlikely but Popovich could opt to start Luka Samanic and then slide DeMar DeRozan and Devin Vassell into the backcourt. That’d be a big lineup — but it might make sense against a big 76ers squad.

Spurs vs. 76ers: How the Spurs Can Win

When looking to slow the 76ers, the focus begins with Joel Embiid. Philadelphia’s superstar is averaging 29.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in only 31.6 minutes per game.

For the Spurs to stand a chance, they need Jakob Poeltl to stay out of foul trouble while putting up a fight against Embiid. That’s easier said than done.