Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz – Game #33

The San Antonio Spurs will try to get back on the winning track tonight versus the Utah Jazz. The Spurs enter the game with a 10-22 record, while the Jazz enter with a record of 19-16.

San Antonio won three straight games but they’ve since lost four of their last five outings. The lone win in that stretch was against the Houston Rockets, who are the only team in the Western Conference with a worse record than the Spurs at 9-23. Two teams in the Eastern Conference – the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets – also have worse records.

The Jazz were expected to be near the bottom of the West according to prognosticators prior to the season. Instead, Utah is the seventh seed in the conference. Earlier in the season, they held the top seed. They’re coming off of two straight wins: 126-11 in Detroit over the Pistons and 120-112 in Salt Lake City over the Washington Wizards.

This will be the first of four meetings between the Spurs and the Jazz this season. Shortly after the All-Star break, the Spurs play the Jazz twice in Salt Lake City. The final matchup happens on March 29th in San Antonio.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

As was also the case last game, the Spurs don’t have any injuries heading into tonight’s contest against the Jazz. The Spurs had been really short-handed in recent weeks but, for the time being, everyone on the roster is available.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Head coach Gregg Popovich is back to using his preferred starting lineup: Jakob Poeltl at center, Jeremy Sochan at power forward, Keldon Johnson at small forward, Devin Vassell at shooting guard and Tre Jones at center.

Off the bench, Popovich last game went with Josh Richarson and Malaki Branham at guard, Doug McDermott and Stanley Johnson at forward, and Zach Collins at center. That left Keita Bates-Diop, Romeo Langford, Charles Bassey and Isaiah Roby out of the equation. We’ll see if Popovich uses the same rotation tonight.

Lauri Markkanen’s Breakthrough

In the past, there’s been rumors floating around the league that the Spurs have been interested in acquiring Lauri Markkanen. This season, the 25-year-old is having by far his best season of his career. In 33.7 minutes per game, Markkanen is averaging 22.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while shooting 53.4% from the field, 44.0% from three-point range and 83.3% from the free throw line.

The Spurs will certainly have their hands full trying to stop him tonight. Expect Jeremy Sochan to be the first Spurs player aiming to slow down Markkanen. Other players on the Spurs who will get a crack at Markkanen will likely be Keldon Johnson and Stanley Johnson.

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Jazz

The Jazz are favored by 4.5 points tonight and the over/under is at 235.5. While the Spurs are healthy, the smart money is on the Jazz winning this game and covering the spread. Utah has played well recently, while San Antonio has been too up-and-down to confidently know what to expect.