Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets – Game #30

When the San Antonio Spurs take on the Houston Rockets tonight, there’s something notable on the line: the loser of the game will take sole possession of the worst record in the Western Conference. Entering the contest, both the Spurs and the Rockets sport a record of 9-20.

The Spurs enter this game riding a two-game losing streak. That streak comes on the heels of San Antonio winning three consecutive contests. In their last outing, the Spurs lost 111-101 to the Miami Heat. Keldon Johnson led the Spurs in scoring with 22 points in 33 minutes (see the Grades).

The Rockets are also on a two-game losing streak. Before those pair of losses (which came against the Portland Trail Blazers and Heat), Houston had won three of their previous four contests.

The Spurs and the Rockets played recently and San Antonio won the game 118-109. That was the first win in their three-game winning streak. Johnson led the way with 32, while Tre Jones had 26 minutes and five assists. That game was in San Antonio, while tonight’s game will be played in Houston.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

Josh Richardson remains out for the Spurs due to undisclosed personal reasons. Two players are listed as questionable: Keldon Johnson and Romeo Langford.

Johnson’s name on the injury report is the most notable. He’s dealing with a bruised back. Considering that he missed shootaround this afternoon, it’s looking less and less likely that Johnson will be able to play versus the Rockets. It goes without saying that the Spurs would definitely miss Johnson, who is leading the team with a scoring average of 21.1 points per game.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Last game, the Spurs returned to their go-to starting lineup of 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.

If Johnson isn’t able to play, it’s difficult to say who head coach Gregg Popovich will start in his place. The obvious answer would be Josh Richardson — but he’s out tonight. The most likely answer is Keita Bates-Diop starting if Popovich wants to go big or Malaki Branham starting if he wants to go small. If Romeo Langford is active, he’s another option to start.

The timing for starting Branham couldn’t be better since he’s coming off the best game of his rookie season. Against the Heat, the 20th overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft scored 12 points in 20 minutes and hit 3-of-4 shots from three-point land. He played with confidence and was an instant spark the moment he hit the hardwood.

Betting Guide: Spurs at Rockets

The Rockets are favored to win this game by 4.5 points. The over/under has been set at 227.5 points.

While the Spurs beat the Rockets recently, the smart money is on the Rockets to win and cover the spread. Houston will be at home and San Antonio will be in a lot of trouble in the likely scenario in which Keldon Johnson isn’t able to play due to injury.