In the Weekly Preview, we’ll take a peek at the upcoming contests for the San Antonio Spurs. This week, the Spurs have games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.
The San Antonio Spurs have won back-to-back games following a three-game losing streak. This past week saw them go 2-1, ending with a nice comeback against the Charlotte Hornets. The Spurs can’t bust out the champagne yet, though, as they are about to embark on the Rodeo Road Trip, a daunting eight-game trip this year.
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers
Monday, February 3, 9:30 PM CT
Last Meeting: Clippers 134, Spurs 109
During their heyday, the Rodeo Road Trip was often a time of year where the Spurs bonded and grew as a team to kick their season into high gear. However, what was once used as a morale boost for the final third of the season has become a make-or-break jaunt for the Spurs. This year’s road trip is no different and this February will be one of the toughest months the Spurs have encountered in recent memory.
The Clippers have been hit hard by injuries this season, with various players moving in and out of the rotation. Key acquisition Paul George suffered a hamstring injury in early January but managed to return a few games ago against the Sacramento Kings. George had a rough first game back, shooting 2-for-10 from the field. Having said that, he did manage to bounce back nicely the following game against the Timberwolves, scoring 21 points on 9-for-18 shooting.
The Spurs got blown out in the most recent meeting between the two teams and will need a herculean effort to start their road trip on the right foot.
The Clippers are second in the league in rebounds at 48.1 boards per contest. LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl will need to do a much better job on the glass, as the Spurs gave up 13 offensive rebounds in their last contest with the Clippers.
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday, February 4, 9:00 PM CT
Last Meeting: Lakers 114, Spurs 104
The Lakers have been reeling emotionally as they deal with the shocking death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. They had to cancel their matchup with the Clippers, and fell to the surging Trail Blazers thanks to a 48-point performance from Damian Lillard. They did manage to beat the Sacramento Kings 129-113 recently and will be looking for a home win as the Spurs will be on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Lakers are one of the favorites to win the NBA title this year, and it’s not hard to see why when they rank fourth in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating. Despite the talent gap between the Lakers and the Spurs, San Antonio has managed to play them tough. Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan will need to have big games, as the lethal duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis has been averaging over 60 points per game combined in their last ten outings.
The Lakers are also third best in the league in steals, so the Spurs can’t afford to be sloppy with their passes or the Lakers will punish them in transition. There is no way to sugarcoat it, as the Spurs will be in a dogfight the night before against the Clippers: this game will be the toughest contest of the week. San Antonio will need to dig deep if they want to shock the Lakers.
San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers
Thursday, February 6, 9:00 PM CT
Last Meeting: Blazers 121, Spurs 116
The Blazers have been on fire, winning four straight and playing their best ball of the season. The last time these teams met, the Spurs blew a comfortable fourth quarter lead at home. Portland scored 30 of the game’s final 40 points to escape San Antonio with a win.
Damian Lillard is having one of the most potent scoring stretches in NBA history. In his last six games, he has been averaging 48.8 points a game. The Blazers are a game ahead of the Spurs for the ninth seed in the Western Conference. If the Spurs want to have any prayer of winning this game, they’ll need to find a way to slow down Lillard. Considering how scorching hot he has been from the floor, the Spurs have a daunting task ahead of them.
It should be noted that Lillard is only shooting 27.7% from the floor this season against the Spurs. However, you’d have to expect that to be an outlier and that Dame will fare much better at home.
San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings
Saturday, February 8, 9:00 PM CT
Last Meeting: Kings 104, Spurs 105
After playing a trio of formidable teams, the Spur finally face a team that has been struggling in the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have lost eight of their last 11 games. Sacramento is currently 21st in offensive rating at 108.1 and 19th in defensive rating at 110.7. Their mediocre play on both sides of the ball has them looking at the lottery once again.
The Spurs were able to eke out a win at home against the Kings thanks to some poor execution from Sacramento in crunch time. Chances are the Spurs will find it much tougher away from the AT&T Center. The Spurs are 8-14 on the road, while the Kings are 8-15 at home. This should be a tight game but one that the Spurs can’t afford to drop.
This is probably the toughest week of the season for the Spurs. Lose three of four and they are most likely going to have the play their best ball of the season after the All-Star break just to keep pace with the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers, as both of those teams have stepped up their play lately. Compared to those two teams, the Spurs have the much harder schedule from here on out.
The Spurs begin a difficult Rodeo Road Trip and they will need to figure out how to get some wins to stay in the playoff race in the West. It all begins tonight in Los Angeles.