Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – Game #81
The San Antonio Spurs will try to stay undefeated in Austin when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. In the first ever NBA game in Austin, the Spurs beat the Portland Trail Blazers by a final score of 1290-127 (see the Grades).
The contest against the Timberwolves will be the second and final home game the Spurs play in Austin this season. San Antonio’s regular season ends on Sunday in Dallas against the Mavericks.
At 21-59, the Spurs will either finish with the second or third worst record in the NBA. As it stands, they have the third worst record in the league ahead of the Houston Rockets (21-60) and Detroit Pistons (17-64).
The Timberwolves are currently in the ninth spot in the Western Conference with a record of 40-40. Minnesota is still battling for playoff positioning so they have something to play for in their final two regular season games. If they win their final two games, they can move up in the standings.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
The Spurs will once again have multiple players on the sidelines. Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan, two of San Antonio’s starters, remain out due to knee issues. Two key bench pieces are also sidelined in Doug McDermott and Devonte’ Graham. McDermott has an ankle injury and Graham has an adductor injury.
Keldon Johnson, the Spurs leading scorer on the season, is questionable with a foot injury. Romeo Langford is also questionable due to a lingering adductor injury.
Minnesota Timberwolves Injury Update
Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns is questionable. Towns is averaging 20.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists this season. Jaylen Nowell and Austin Rivers are also listed as questionable for Minnesota. Center Naz Reid will miss the game after recently breaking a bone in his wrist.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Head coach Gregg Popovich can pencil in Tre Jones at point guard, Zach Collins at center, Malaki Branham at shooting guard and Keita Bates-Diop at power forward. The final starter will be Keldon Johnson if he’s able to play.
If Johnson can’t go, expect Julian Champagnie to start in his place. Champagnie is averaging 20 points over his last three contests in only 27.1 minutes per game. Alternatively, Popovich may opt to go big and insert Sandro Mamukelashvili into the starting five. Mamukelashvili has started five games for the Spurs.
Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are favored by 13.5 points on Saturday. Considering that Minnesota has something to play for, the Timberwolves being a big-time favorite shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Additionally, the Spurs could be without arguably their three best players in Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan.
The smart money is on the Timberwolves winning by 14 or more points. The Spurs could get a boost from the Austin crowd in the Moody Center but they’re facing a talented team that really wants to win their final two games of the season. The end result is likely to be a blowout victory for the Timberwolves.