Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers – Game #63
The San Antonio Spurs return to the AT&T Center following their nine-game Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs only won once on the trip, a 102-94 victory in the last game. Tonight, the Silver and Black take on the Indiana Pacers, a team that is 28-35 on the season.
The Pacers are in the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference. They started the season with a record of 23-18 but they’ve cratered since then. Indiana is led by Tyrese Haliburton, who is averaging 20.1 points, 10.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 33.6 minutes per game.
With their recent win, the Spurs improved to 15-47 on the season. Both the Houston Rockets (13-49) and Detroit Pistons (15-48) have worse records.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
There’s a lot of news on the injury front for the Spurs. Let’s start with the good news. Devin Vassell is going to be able to play tonight. He hasn’t played since Jan. 2 due to an arthroscopic knee procedure. On the season, Vassell is averaging 19.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
Also available tonight is Tre Jones. San Antonio’s starting point guard has missed nine of the last ten games due to a sore foot.
As far as the bad news is concerned, the worst of the news is the fact that Keldon Johnson will miss tonight’s game. Johnson was great in his last outing and was the main reason why the Spurs pulled away down the stretch against the Jazz (see the Grades). He appeared to twist his ankle late in the game and will miss the Pacers game due to a left foot sprain. Joining Johnson on the sidelines will be Romeo Langford (adductor), Isaiah Roby (ankle), Khem Birch (knee) and Julian Champagnie (G League).
Malaki Branham, who left the Jazz game holding his side, is questionable due to a lower back contusion.
Indiana Pacers Injury Update
Tyrese Haliburton, undoubtedly the best player on the Pacers, is questionable tonight due to a calf strain. If Haliburton isn’t able to play, that’d greatly improve San Antonio’s chances of winning the game. The Pacers are 2-10 in games this season in which Haliburton doesn’t play.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Head coach Gregg Popovich will likely start Zach Collins at center, Tre Jones at point guard, Devin Vassell at shooting guard, Jeremy Sochan at small forward and Keita Bates-Diop at power forward. That said, there’s a chance that Popovich will bring Jones or Vassell off the bench in order to ramp up their minutes slowly as the duo comes off of injuries. Even if Jones and Vassell play, expect both of them to be on some sort of minutes restriction.
If Jones or Vassell doesn’t start, expect Malaki Branham to start. If Branham misses the game due to the lower back contusion, Devonte’ Graham could be the next player in line to move into the starting lineup.
Betting Odds: Spurs vs. Pacers
The Pacers are favored by six points and the over/under is 237.5 points. The smart money is on the Pacers to win by more than six points. While it’s great that Devin Vassell and Tre Jones are back, they’ll likely both be limited. Keldon Johnson being sidelined is a big loss. Malaki Branham being at less than 100% will also hurt the offense. If Tyrese Haliburton plays, pick the Pacers with confidence.