Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets – Game #64
In a battle of two of the worst teams in the league, the San Antonio Spurs will host the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. The Spurs, 16-47, have three more wins than the 13-49 Rockets.
Recently, San Antonio went on a 16-game losing skid. However, the Silver and Black have now won two straight games. Currently, the Rockets are on an 11-game slide. Houston won only once in February and started off March with a loss.
The Spurs and Rockets have already faced each other twice this season. In both games, San Antonio came away victorious. On Dec. 8, the Spurs won in San Antonio by a final score of 118-109. On Dec. 19, the Spurs won in Houston, 124-105. On Sunday night, the Spurs and Rockets will play for a fourth and final time. That game will take place in Houston.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
The injury report for the Spurs is still a lengthy one. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, San Antonio’s two leading scorers, will both miss tonight’s affair. Johnson is dealing with a foot injury he suffered two games again in the win against the Utah Jazz. Vassell is returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, so the Spurs are sitting him tonight due to what the team is calling “injury management.”
Doug McDermott, who played only seven minutes in the win against the Indiana Pacers due to a thumb injury, is unavailable tonight due to a right thumb sprain. Rookie Malaki Branham will sit out this evening due to a back contusion. He suffered the injury in the recent win against the Jazz but was able to play last game versus the Pacers.
Romeo Langford is questionable after dealing with an adductor injury. He hasn’t been able to play since Jan. 23.
Head coach Gregg Popovich and assistant coach Brett Brown missed the game against the Pacers due to illness. There’s no word yet on whether they will be able to coach this evening.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
We can expect whoever coaches the Spurs to start Zach Collins at center, Keita Bates-Diop at power forward and Jeremy Sochan at small forward. It’s not clear who will start at guard, however. Devonte’ Graham is probably the most likely candidate, as he played well last game (see the Grades) in a starting role. Tre Jones is another strong possibility. He came off the bench last game as he returned to the court after missing time due to a foot injury but the Spurs may opt to put him in the starting lineup tonight.
Another possible starter is Romeo Langford. If he’s able to go, he could return to the starting lineup. Langford was the player who originally filled in for Devin Vassell in the starting five.
New Faces for the Spurs
We may witness the debut of two new Spurs tonight. Sandro Mamukelashvili was claimed off waivers by the Spurs yesterday from the Milwakuee Bucks. To make room for him, San Antonio released Isaiah Roby. Mamukelashvili is a skilled big man who didn’t get much playing time while with the Bucks.
The other player who may make his Spurs debut is Julian Champagnie. He was recently claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia 76ers. Champagnie is on a two-way contract and has been playing with the Austin Spurs in the G League.
Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Rockets
The Spurs are favored tonight by one point. The over/under is set at 230.5 points. The smart money tonight is on the under. San Antonio has been playing much better defensively. In fact, during their two-game winning streak, they held each opponent to under 100 points. On the other end, scoring won’t come easy for the Spurs. Without leading scorers Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell in addition to key scoring options in Doug McDermott and Malaki Branham, expect the offense to stall for stretches.