Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets – Game #25
The San Antonio Spurs have lost 11 consecutive contests and 16 of 17 overall. Tonight, the Spurs have a chance to snap that losing streak when they take on the Houston Rockets in the AT&T Center. San Antonio (6-18) and Houston (7-17) have the two worst records in the Western Conference.
In the last game the Spurs played, they were demolished by the Phoenix Suns, 133-95. The Silver and Black were led by Keldon Johnson’s 27 points. Unfortunately, most of the team struggled and the Spurs weren’t able to put up much of a fight (see the Grades).
The Rockets have actually won two of their last three games. Both wins were really impressive. First, Houston beat the Suns 122-121 in Phoenix. Then, after losing to the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets bounced back with a 132-123 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Tonight’s clash is the first of four meetings between the Spurs and Rockets.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
Despite having not played since Sunday, the Spurs still have a huge list of injuries. Let’s start with the players who won’t play tonight. Jakob Poeltl remains out with a bone bruise of his right knee. Jeremy Sochan is also out with a bruised right quad. Keita Bates-Diop, a new addition to the walking wounded, is unavailable due to a left foot sprain. Blake Wesley (torn MCL) and Dominick Barlow (G League) also won’t play tonight.
Devin Vassell, arguably the best player on the Spurs right now, is doubtful against the Rockets due to left knee soreness. If he’s out, that will obviously be a big blow to San Antonio.
The Spurs also have three players listed as probable: Doug McDermott (ankle), Josh Richardson (ankle) and Romeo Langford (back).
Head coach Gregg Popovich, who missed the last two games after undergoing a minor medical procedure, is expected to be back on the sidelines tonight.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Popovich is going to have to get creative when formulating tonight’s starting lineup. Assuming Devin Vassell misses tonight’s game, that leaves the likely starting five as: Tre Jones at point guard, Josh Richardson at shooting guard, Keldon Johnson at small forward, Isaiah Roby at power forward and Zach Collins at center. If this is indeed the starting lineup, it’ll be Roby’s first start of the season and the third start of the season for Richardson.
Off the bench, expect Popovich to go with Doug McDermott, Romeo Langford, Malaki Branham and Charles Bassey. Alize Johnson also has a chance to be in the rotation tonight due to the fact that he is the only other healthy power forward on the roster outside of Roby.
Blake Wesley Back on the Court
Blake Wesley has started playing three-on-three during Spurs practices. That is good news because he was expected to be out until the end of December. With all the other injuries, the Spurs could really use the return of Wesley, who would likely become the team’s backup point guard behind Tre Jones once he returns.
Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Rockets
The Rockets are favored tonight by 1.5 points and the over/under is at 229.5 points. While this is a great chance for the Spurs to put an end to their losing skid, the smart money is on the Rockets to beat the Spurs and cover the 1.5-point spread. San Antonio could struggle mightily without Devin Vassell and the team is really shallow at power forward and backup point guard. The Spurs might be able to pull off a victory tonight — but don’t bet on it.