Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers – Game #18

The San Antonio Spurs (6-11) have lost nine of their last ten games but they still have a better record than the Los Angeles Lakers (4-10). The two teams play tonight in Los Angeles. Over the course of the next week, the Spurs and Lakers will play each other a total of three times — the final two times in San Antonio.

This will be the final game of a five-game road trip for the Spurs, who are winless on the trip so far. Their most recent loss was a 119-97 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night. The Spurs were led by Jakob Poeltl’s 20 points — but few players on the team performed well (see the Grades).

The Lakers have actually won two straight games. First, L.A. defeated the Brooklyn Nets by a final score of 116-103. In their last game, they beat the Detroit Pistons, 128-121. Anthony Davis led the way against the Pistons with 38 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots in 34 minutes.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The big news tonight is that Jakob Poeltl is out with knee soreness. Against the Clippers, Poeltl was questionable due to knee soreness but he was able to play. In this back-to-back affair, the center from Austria will sit out.

Three other players who have been out will remain out: Romeo Langford (COVID-19), Zach Collins (leg) and Blake Wesley (knee). However, there’s good news on the Langford front, as he now just has to work on his conditioner and then will be cleared to play. Due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Langford hasn’t play since Nov. 11.

Devin Vassell didn’t play against the Clippers due to an ankle injury but he will play tonight for the Spurs.

Los Angeles Lakers Injury Update

The two best player for the Lakers are on their injury report. LeBron James is questionable, while Anthony Davis is probable. James hasn’t played since Nov. 9 due to an adductor injury. Davis, who has 75 points total in his last two games, has played all but one game for L.A. this season.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Four of the Spurs starters are clear: Tre Jones at point guard, Devin Vassell at shooting guard, Keldon Johnson at small forward and Jeremy Sochan at power forward. With Jakob Poeltl and Zach Collins sidelined, head coach Gregg Popovich will have to look elsewhere.

The most probable starter is Charles Bassey. He has been serving as the backup center since Collins got hurt. Gorgui Dieng is another possible starter if Popovich wants to roll with a veteran.

If Popovich wants to go small, Keita Bates-Diop and Isaiah Roby are options. That said, the Spurs haven’t gone small much this season — so this scenario is unlikely.

Lonnie Walker IV’s Revenge

Lonnie Walker IV spent four seasons with the Spurs after being drafted by the franchise with the 18th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. In the offseason, he signed a one-year contract with the Lakers. With Los Angeles, Walker has had a productive season so far, averaging a career-high 16.6 points along with 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

Walker has started in all 12 games he’s played in and is shooting 47.1% from the field, 35.0% from three-point range and 83.3% from the free throw line. The field goal percentage and free throw percentage are career highs.

Betting Guide: Spurs at Lakers

The Lakers are favored by 7 points versus the Spurs. The over/under is set at 229.5 points.

However, what you should actually bet on is Lonnie Walker IV scoring more than 15.5 points. Not only is he averaging 16.6 points per game, he’ll want to put on a show against his former teammates. Furthermore, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the injury report, there’s a real chance that Walker becomes a go-to scorer tonight for the Lakers.