Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz – Game #62
For the second consecutive game, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Spurs will try to avoid losing their 17th consecutive game. San Antonio will also try to avoid going winless on this year’s nine-game Rodeo Road Trip.
The Jazz have won two straight games and four of their last six contests. In their 118-102 victory over the Spurs on Saturday night (see the Grades), Utah was led by All-Star big man Lauri Markkanen, who had 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, 3-of-7 shooting from three-point territory, and 6-for-6 shooting at the line. At 31-31, Utah is sitting in the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
The Spurs, who have a record of 14-47, have the second worst record in the NBA. The only team with a worse record is the 13-47 Houston Rockets.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
Injuries continue to have a negative impact on the Spurs. Devin Vassell is out following arthroscopic knee surgery. The good news is he might be back next game for San Antonio.
Romeo Langford, who has been sidelined for more than a month, is out again due left adductor tightness. Isaiah Roby also remains out due to a sprained ankle.
Khem Birch (knee) is out without much hope that he’ll play anytime soon. Birch was acquired in the Jakob Poeltl trade. Julian Champagnie, who was claimed off of waivers from the Philadelphia 76ers, won’t play because he’s with the Austin Spurs in the G League.
Tre Jones is listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Jazz. He’s dealing with left foot soreness.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Zach Collins will start at center for the Spurs. Jeremy Sochan and Keldon Johnson will start at power forward and small forward, respectively. Malaki Branham will start at guard. Tre Jones, if he’s able to play, will also start at guard.
If Jones misses another game, expect Keita Bates-Diop to get a start in his place. Head coach Gregg Popovich has consistently used Bates-Diop as the replacement starter this season.
Zach Collins Thriving as a Starting Center
Following the trade of Jakob Poeltl, a big hole was created in the center of San Antonio’s starting lineup. Zach Collins has been able to fill the void rather nicely. Since the Poeltl trade, Collins is averaging 15.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks in 29.2 minutes per game. During that time frame, he’s shooting 50.7% from the floor, 38.1% from three-point distance and 78.6% at the free throw line.
Collins has one more season left on his contract after this one. While his contract is unguaranteed going forward, it’s a no-brainer for the Spurs to keep him as long as he’s healthy.
Betting Guide: Spurs at Jazz
The Jazz are favored over the Spurs by 9.5 points. The over/under is 236 points. Although it’s difficult for an NBA team to convincingly beat another team two games in a row, all signs point to that happening tonight. The Spurs are struggling mightily, their starting point guard is questionable and their starting shooting guard is out. The smart money on tonight’s game is on the Jazz winning by ten or more points.