Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers – Game #28

The suddenly red-hot San Antonio Spurs will try to extend their winning streak to four games tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Spurs, 9-18, will host the Blazers, 15-12, in the AT&T Center. 

San Antonio’s three wins came against the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. Versus the Cavs, Josh Richardson led the way with 24 points in 27 minutes off the bench (see the Grades).

Like the Spurs, the Blazers are also playing well. They’ve won four of their last five games. Their two most recent games both came against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Blazers won both contests. In the most recent one, Damian Lillard led the way with 38 points and three assists in 29 minutes. He hit 13-of-21 shots from the floor and 11-of-17 shots from three-point range.

This will be the second time the Spurs and Blazers play each other this season. In their first matchup, the Blazers won 117-110 in Portland. In that game, Jakob Poeltl had 31 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in a losing effort, while Jerami Grant led the way for the Blazers with 29 points.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The injuries continue to mount for the Spurs. Not only is Jakob Poeltl still out with a bone bruise of his right knee, San Antonio has two new players who are dealing with injuries: Zach Collins and Romeo Langford. Both Collins and Langford are out due to a sprained left ankle. The Spurs haven’t said how long the two players will be out.

Blake Wesley is beginning to practice as he recovers from a torn MCL — but he’s still out for tonight’s game against the Blazers.

There are two glimmers of good news. Keita Bates-Diop is back after suffering a sprained foot that kept him out for the last three games. Yesterday, Josh Richardson was listed as questionable due to a right hand bruise. However, the Spurs say he will be able to play versus Portland.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Who will head coach Gregg Popovich start tonight? The answer isn’t a simple one. We do know that Tre Jones will start at point guard and Keldon Johnson will start at one of the forward spots. Devin Vassell has been coming off the bench as he recovers from knee soreness — but Romeo Langford being out may cause him to start. 

Isaiah Roby started last game at power forward. Roby could start again or Keita Bates-Diop may start. Jeremy Sochan played backup point guard last game but he too is in the mix to start at power forward. Alternatively, Pop may opt to go small and put Josh Richardson in the starting lineup.

At center, the Spurs are without their top two options: Jakob Poeltl and Zach Collins. That means that either Charles Bassey or Gorgui Dieng will start. Bassey has played well recently so he’s likely to get the nod at center.

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Blazers

The Blazers are favored tonight by 7.5 points and the over/under is set at 230.5 points. The best bet tonight is taking the over. The Spurs could struggle on defense due to being without their top two centers and arguably their top perimeter defender in Romeo Langford. Plus, Portland has scored at least 116 points in five straight games. 

During San Antonio’s winning streak, they have averaged 115 points per game. With both offenses humming and the Spurs defense possibly being extra porous, go with the over with confidence.