Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz – Game #61
The San Antonio Spurs have lost 15 straight games. Tonight, they continue the Rodeo Road Trip against the Utah Jazz. While the Spurs, 14-46, have the second worst record in the Western Conference, the surprising Jazz are holding onto the 10th seed with a record of 30-31.
Utah is coming off of a 120-119 overtime victory versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. In that game, All-Star Lauri Markkanen led the way with 43 points. Rookie center Walker Kessler chipped in with seven points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks. The Jazz have an impressive 19-12 record at home.
The Spurs, who are 5-25 on the road, haven’t won away from the AT&T Center since Dec. 19 when they beat the lowly Rockets in Houston.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
Devin Vassell remains out for the Spurs but it sounds like his return could be right around the corner. Vassell, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, could be back as Thursday versus the Indiana Pacers.
Tre Jones will miss another game with a sore foot. Isaiah Roby remains sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Unfortunately, Keldon Johnson — San Antonio’s leading scorer — is questionable for tonight’s affair due to an illness. The Spurs haven’t provided specifics about the illness other than to say it’s not COVID-19.
In a rare bit of good news, rookie Jeremy Sochan is probable against the Jazz. He missed the first game back from the All-Star break with a quad injury.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
We know that head coach Gregg Popovich will go with Zach Collins at center and Malaki Branham at guard. If Jeremy Sochan is indeed able to play, he’ll start at forward. If Keldon Johnson can battle through his illness, he too will start.
Last game against the Dallas Mavericks, Keita Bates-Diop and Devonte’ Graham were in the starting lineup. If needed, expect those two to get the nod once again.
Malaki Branham’s February to Remember
Malaki Branham wishes that February would last forever. The rookie has led the Spurs in scoring in each of the last two games. For the month, Branham is averaging 18.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists, while shooting 51.9% from the field, 41.2% from three-point range and 76.5% from the free throw line. He has scored at least 18 points in four out of his last five games.
Branham has been scoring at all three levels recently. His three-point shooting has picked up, he’s a natural in the mid-range and he’s finishing stronger at the rim.
Betting Guide: Spurs at Jazz
The Jazz are favored by 10.5 points and the over/under is at 240 points. The smart money tonight is on the Jazz. While 10.5 points is a lot to give up against a sub-.500 team, the Spurs will struggle to keep this game competitive.
If Keldon Johnson doesn’t play, the Spurs could struggle to put points on the board — especially because they’re already without Devin Vassell and Tre Jones. Defensively, the return of Jeremy Sochan should help but San Antonio will still have a hard time slowing down the Jazz.