Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets – Game #65

For the second consecutive night, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Houston Rockets. The two teams will switch cities though, as tonight’s affair takes place in Houston. In the first game, the Rockets snapped their 11-game losing streak by defeating the Spurs by a final count of 122-110.

Last night, San Antonio was led by Devonte’ Graham’s 28 points, who hit seven three-pointers and seven free throws and played a strong all-around game (see the Grades). However, that outburst by Graham wasn’t enough against a balanced Rockets attack that featured eight players in double-figures.

The win improved the Rockets to 14-49 on the season, which is still the worst record in the NBA. The Spurs fell to 16-48 with the loss, which is the third worst record in the league. Between the Rockets and the Spurs at the bottom of the standings are the 15-49 Detroit Pistons.

San Antonio Spurs Injury News

The injury report is again quite complicated for the Spurs. First of all, Doug McDermott will miss a second straight game with a right thumb sprain. San Antonio hasn’t announced how long their sharpshooter will be sidelined.  

Four players who played yesterday are out for tonight’s game. Rookie Jeremy Sochan is out with right knee soreness. Tre Jones, who played the last two games after returning from a foot injury, is out due to injury management. Romeo Langford, who missed about six weeks with adductor tightness before returning on Saturday night, won’t play in this back-to-back — again due to adductor tightness. Starting center Zach Collins is also out for an unspecified reason.

There is good news to report, however. Three players who didn’t play last night are available tonight. Keldon Johnson, who missed the last two contests due to a foot sprain, is back. Devin Vassell, who missed last night’s game due to injury management, will play again. Malaki Branham, who missed the first Rockets game due to a back contusion, is also listed as available.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Who will head coach Gregg Popovich start? That’s not the easiest question to answer. At center, Charles Bassey is most likely to start. Expect Keita Bates-Diop to start at power forward and Keldon Johnson to start at small forward. At guard, the most likely duo is Devonte’ Graham and Malaki Branham.

There’s a chance that Devin Vassell could start but he didn’t start in his return from injury and appeared to be a minutes restriction.

Betting Guide: Spurs at Rockets

The Rockets are favored by 4.5 points and the over/under is at 231.5 points. The smart money tonight is on the over. San Antonio is without four of their better defenders in Jeremy Sochan, Tre Jones, Zach Collins and Romeo Langford. The Rockets scored 122 points on the road last night and should do even better tonight at home. For the Spurs, they scored 110 points last night and will get back their two main offensive weapons in Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell.

Typically, you’d hesitate to bet the over on the second night of a back-to-back for both teams — but these are young teams with many players who are hungry to score the ball.