If the San Antonio Spurs want to advance to the NBA playoffs, it’s a must that they beat the Utah Jazz on Friday. The Spurs, who have lost two straight since winning their first two games in the bubble, currently stand two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed and one and a half games behind the ninth seeded Portland Trail Blazers.
While the Spurs won’t technically be eliminated with a loss to the Jazz, San Antonio won’t face an easier game the rest of the way.
While the 43-25 Jazz have a much better record than the 29-38 Spurs, they will be without four starters: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale. The quartet of starters, which features a pair of All-Stars in Mitchell and Gobert, are missing Friday’s game due to injuries.
With Bojan Bogdanovic already sidelined for the entire restart, the Jazz will only have two active players who average more than eight points per game: Jordan Clarkson (15.3 points) and Joe Ingles (9.9 points). A loss to such a short-handed squad would spell the end for the Spurs.
San Antonio Spurs Injuries
While the Jazz are dealing with a host of injuries, the Spurs are getting healthier. Against the Denver Nuggets, Marco Belinelli was available after suffering a sprained foot. Belinelli will against suit up against the Jazz. However, Bryn Forbes remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury.
Although Belinelli was in uniform last game, he didn’t see any action. Patty Mills appears to have taken his spot in the rotation. With as well as Mills is playing, it’s doubtful that Belinelli will be able to win back those minutes. Even if the Spurs fall out of playoff contention, it’d make more sense for players like Quinndary Weatherspoon and Keldon Johnson to see their minutes increase in that scenario.
Lonnie Walker IV Looking to Rebound
After scoring 16 points in the first game of the restart and 12 points in the second game of the restart, Lonnie Walker IV has gone quiet. In the last two games, he has 14 points, one assist, zero rebounds, zero blocks, zero steals and three turnovers in 40 minutes of play. His passive play in those two games is apparent in these numbers
After the Nuggets loss, Walker actually apologized to Spurs fans and vowed to do better.
Let’s hope that a reinvigorated Walker helps lead the Spurs over the short-handed Jazz in this must-win game.