Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz – Game #76

The San Antonio Spurs play their final authentic home game of the season tonight against the Utah Jazz. While the Spurs still have two more home games on their schedule, both games will be played in Austin instead of in the AT&T Center. San Antonio also has four more road games before the 2022-23 season comes to an end.

Riding a four-game losing streak, the Spurs have a record of 19-56. Two teams in the association have worse records: the 18-58 Houston Rockets and the 16-59 Detroit Pistons. On Friday, the Rockets play the Pistons so the good news with regard to the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes is that one of those two teams will be forced to win a game.

Like the Spurs, the Jazz have lost four straight games. At 35-40, Utah stands as the 12th seed in the Western Conference. If they want to make the NBA Play-in Tournament, they’ll need a strong finish to the regular season. That said, based on all the players the Jazz are sitting, it appears as if they’d actually rather miss the playoffs with an eye on getting a lottery pick in the draft instead.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs will be without arguably their three most important players. Keldon Johnson is out with a left foot injury. Devin Vassell is out with left knee injury management. Jeremy Sochan is sidelined with right knee soreness.

Also unavailable are Charles Bassey and Khem Birch. Both centers are presumably out for the season due to knee injuries.

Utah Jazz Injury Update

The Jazz will also have a lot of talent on the sidelines. Lauri Markkanen, who made the All-Star team this season, is out with a hand injury. Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson will miss tonight’s contest with a hamstring injury and a finger injury, respectively. Former Spur Rudy Gay is also out due to a back injury.

On the season, Markkanen is averaging 25.7 points per game, while Clarkson is averaging 20.8 points and Sexton is averaging 14.3 points. 

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

With three starters out, head coach Gregg Popovich will have some decisions to make. We can confidently say that Zach Collins will start at center, Tre Jones will start at point guard, Malaki Branham will start at shooting guard and Keita Bates-Diop will start at one of the forward spots. 

Who will start at the other forward spot? If Popovich wants to go big, he could start Sandro Mamukelashvili. If he wants to start a more traditional lineup, he could pick Romeo Langford. If Popovich wants to trot out a small lineup, he could start Devonte’ Graham in the backcourt and bump Branham to small forward.

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Jazz

The Jazz are favored by four points and the over/under is at 233.5 points. The smart money tonight is on the teams combining for 233 or fewer points. With so much scoring talent on the sidelines, at least one of the two teams should struggle to put points on the board.