Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets – Game #45

The San Antonio Spurs will play their third game of their four-game homestand tonight versus the Brooklyn Nets. The Spurs have lost five straight games and eight of their last nine contests. At 13-31, San Antonio has the second worst record in the Western Conference and the fourth worst record in the NBA.

The Nets are 27-15, which is the second best record in the Eastern Conference and the fourth best record in the NBA. After a recent 12-game winning streak, Brooklyn is only 2-3 in their last five games. They’ve lost their last two outings — both of which were at home. First they lost to the Boston Celtics and then to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This will be the second and final contest between the Spurs and the Nets this season. Two weeks ago, the Nets dismantled the Spurs by a final score of 139-103. In that game, Kyrie Irving led the way for Brooklyn with 27 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the floor, including 4-for-5 from three-point range. San Antonio was led by Keldon Johnson’s 22 points in 25 minutes.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

Devin Vassell remains out after he had a surgical procedure on his knee. He is expected to remain sidelined for San Antonio until at least the All-Star break in February.

Doug McDermott missed last game against the Sacramento Kings. He’s once again questionable tonight with tightness in his back. McDermott is averaging 10.5 points in 20.5 minutes per game, while hitting 48.7% from the floor and 42.1% from beyond the three-point arc.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Head coach Gregg Popovich will likely trot out the same starting five that he has used since Devin Vassell’s injury: Jeremy Sochan at power forward, Keldon Johnson at small forward, Jakob Poeltl at center, Romeo Langford at shooting guard and Tre Jones at point guard.

Off the bench, expect Popovich to go with Malaki Branham and Josh Richardson at guard, Zach Collins at center, and Stanley Johnson and Doug McDermott at forward. If McDermott misses the game due to injury, rookie Blake Wesley could enter the rotation. Wesley was in the rotation against the Kings and did well (see the Grades).

Kevin Durant Out for the Nets

When the Nets were on their 12-game winning streak, Kevin Durant was leading the way. Unfortunately for the Nets, he suffered a knee injury a week ago and he remains out. Durant is expected to miss about a month of action with what’s being described as an MCL sprain.

On the season, Durant is averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while hitting 55.9% from the floor, 37.6% from three-point range and 93.4% from the free throw line.

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Nets

The Nets are favored to win by 5.5 points and the over/under is set at 232 points. The smart money tonight is on the over. In their five-game losing streak, the Spurs have allowed 130.6 points per game. The Nets are without Durant but they shouldn’t struggle to put points on the board.

While the Spurs have been losing, scoring hasn’t been the issue. In their losing streak, they’ve averaged 118 points per game. Thus, the two teams combining for more than 232 points looks safe.