Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers – Game #3

The San Antonio Spurs have no time to celebrate their first win of the season, a 137-134 victory over the Indiana Pacers (see the Grades). Tonight, they’re right back on the job at Philadelphia against the 76ers. 

In their win, the Spurs were led by Josh Richardson’s 27 points in 28 minutes off the bench. The starting lineup had three more players with more than 20 points: Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell had 23 points, while Jakob Poeltl had 21 points. 

The Sixers enter the contest with a record of 0-2. They began the season with a 126-117 loss on the road to the Boston Celtics and then lost at home by a final score of 90-88 versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Considering that Philadelphia played arguably the two best teams in the Eastern Conference to begin the season, their 0-2 record shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

The Spurs have started the same five players since the fourth preseason game: Tre Jones at point guard, Devin Vassell at shooting guard, Keldon Johnson at small forward, Jeremy Sochan at power forward and Jakob Poeltl at center.

Tonight’s starters should be the same. Then again, this is the first back-to-back contest of the season so we’ll see if head coach Gregg Popovich has any aggressive resting procedures in mind this year.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs don’t have any injured players on their roster. But, again, Popovich may decide to sit a player or two due to San Antonio playing last night.

Strong Start for Keldon Johnson

It’s only been two games but the Spurs have to be thrilled with what they’ve gotten out of Keldon Johnson. He’s averaging 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals and only 2.0 turnovers per game.

Going back to last year, Johnson has scored at least 20 points in 11 consecutive regular season games. 

James Harden Rolling Back the Clock

If the 76ers are to be a true championship contender this season, they likely need James Harden to play MVP-caliber basketball. So far this season, they have to be happy with what they’ve seen. 

Despite their two losses to begin their campaign, Harden is averaging 33.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists, while shooting 57.9% from the floor. It goes without saying that the Spurs will have their hands full tonight trying to slow him down.

Betting Guide: Spurs at 76ers

The Sixers are favored by 13 points tonight against the Spurs. Even though the Spurs are coming off a win in which they looked really good in the first half against the Pacers, the best bet is to pick the Sixers to cover. Philadelphia is desperate for a win, while the Spurs will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

The over/under is set at 224.5. Going with the over is the more tempting option. The Spurs gave up 49 points in the fourth quarter against the Pacers — so to say their defense is a work in progress is an understatement.