Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans – Game #19

The San Antonio Spurs will look to bounce back tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans in front of their home fans in the AT&T Center. The Spurs are coming off of a disappointing five-game road trip in which San Antonio lost all five games. In their last three games of the trip, the Spurs lost by an average score of 124-100.

Following the winless road trip, the Silver and Black now have a record of 6-12. After starting the season 5-2, the Spurs have lost 11 of their last 12 games overall. Their only win during that stretch was against a short-handed Milwaukee Bucks team that was playing without all three of their best players: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.

The Pelicans enter tonight’s contest with a record of 10-7. While the Spurs are cold, New Orleans has won four of their last five games. Their three leading scorers are Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, who are averaging 22.3 points, 22.1 points and 18.7 points, respectively.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

Josh Richardson will miss tonight’s game with the Spurs with right ankle soreness. This will be the second game of the season that Richardson has missed. On the season, he’s the team’s leading bench scorer at 10.2 points per game. 

Perhaps the biggest injury-related news for the Spurs is the Zach Collins’ update. Yesterday, he was listed as probable to play in tonight’s game. While San Antonio has opted to not play him against the Pelicans, it’s now clear that Collins is nearing a return. When he suffered a non-displaced leg fracture two weeks ago, the team expected him to miss between two and four weeks. That means the backup center is returning near the beginning of that window.

Also not playing tonight: Blake Wesley (knee), Malaki Branham (G League) and Dominick Barlow (G League).

Jakob Poeltl, who sat out the blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers (see the Grades), is available tonight after sitting out due to right knee soreness. Romeo Langford is also available after missing time due to COVID-19 and subsequent health and safety protocols. 

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

All five starters are good to go versus New Orleans. Expect Tre Jones at point guard, Devin Vassell at shooting guard, Keldon Johnson at small forward, Jeremy Sochan at power forward and Jakob Poeltl at center.

With Richardson out, Sochan has played point guard recently so he could be the backup at that position tonight. If not Sochan, it may be Romeo Langford.

Zach Collins will likely get the backup center gig back once he returns. While he’s away, expect Charles Bassey to continue to get those minutes.

Gregg Popovich to Return

Not only did Jakob Poeltl miss the game against the Clippers, so did head coach Gregg Popovich. The future Hall of Famer came down with an illness minutes before tipoff and remained in the locker room for the duration of the contest.

With Popovich out of commission, Brett Brown handled head coaching duties for the Spurs.

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Pelicans

The Pelicans are favored tonight by seven points and the over/under is set at 230 points. Considering that the Spurs have had a two-day break and considering that they’re starting lineup is healthy, this is a game to put money on the Spurs plus the seven points. San Antonio wants to forget all about that 0-5 road trip so they should at least be able to keep it close.