Weekly Preview: Spurs to Face the Lakers, Timberwolves and Clippers

In the Weekly Preview, we’ll take a look at the upcoming games for the San Antonio Spurs. This week, the Spurs play the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers.

Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs
Monday, November 25, 7:30 PM CT

Last Meeting: Lakers 103, Spurs 96

After picking up just their second road win of the season, the Spurs snapped an eight-game losing streak by defeating the New York Knicks. The Spurs have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league, but they have shown signs of life on that end in their last two games.

They will have to dig even deeper defensively when the Los Angeles Lakers come to town. The Lakers have the best record in the NBA at 14-2. After a loss at home to the Toronto Raptors, the Lakers have reeled off seven straight victories.

They have been doing it on both ends of the floor. Los Angeles is second in the league in field percentage at 47.9%. During their seven-game winning streak, they’ve posted the third best offensive rating in the league. On the season, the Lakers are tied with Miami Heat for the fourth best defensive rating at 102.5.

LeBron James had a triple-double against the Spurs (Image via yahoo.com)

The Lakers really bothered the Spurs in their last matchup with their length. San Antonio isn’t the only team agitated by it, as the Lakers are the best shot blocking team in the league with 7.6 per game. The Spurs will have to play smart offensively and get into their sets quickly. Dejounte Murray’s return should help the backcourt as Derrick White still recovers from a foot injury.

Last time these teams faced off, the Lakers had LeBron James and Anthony Davis wreak havoc with a triple-double and a double-double, respectively. However, the real issue was that Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Avery Bradley combined for 44 points on 19-for-25 shooting. While San Antonio hopes that doesn’t happen again, they’ll need to get much better performances from their stars this time around. DeRozan and Aldridge combined for a putrid 7-for-24 shooting in the earlier meeting.

Despite everything that went against them, the Spurs only lost by seven points. The Lakers haven’t had a margin of victory of more than five points in five of their last six contests. They aren’t invincible. If the Spurs can get more production from their stars, while limiting the role players from Los Angeles, they should be able to put up an even better fight.

Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs
Wednesday, November 27, 7:30 PM CT

Last Meeting: Timberwolves 129, Spurs 114

Since their last meeting, which saw the Timberwolves crush the Spurs, Minnesota has lost 4 of their last 5 games. The Wolves dropped a close contest against the Phoenix Suns but Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster game with 31 points and 17 rebounds. Minnesota currently clings to the eighth seed in the West.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points last time against Minnesota (Image via sportsnet.ca)

The Spurs will need to provide Aldridge and DeRozan some help if they want to win this time. The role players fared very poorly for San Antonio last time, while Aldridge and DeRozan combined for 50 points on 22-for-34 shooting from the field. The Spurs will also need to hit from downtown at a much higher clip. In the last meeting with the Timberwolves, they only managed a season-low of three made three-pointers.

The Timberwolves play with the third fastest pace in the league. However, despite the hectic tempo, they only muster the 20th most efficient offense in the NBA. The Spurs on the other hand, have the fifth highest offensive rating. This game should be a high-scoring affair since neither team is strong defensively. With the Spurs being at home, this would be a nice win to pick up between the two L.A. games.

Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
Friday, November 29, 7:30 PM CT

Last Meeting: Clippers 103, Spurs 97

The tough homestand comes to an end with the Spurs seeking revenge from their loss to the Clippers. Kawhi Leonard decimated the Spurs in that game with 38 points and 12 rebounds. Gregg Popovich will have to throw different looks at Leonard this time around. Hopefully DeMarre Carroll and Rudy Gay are the ones doing the bulk of the work against Leonard. For the Spurs, Derrick White had one of his best outings of the season against the Clippers with 20 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Expect the fans to jeer Kawhi Leonard in his return to San Antonio (Image via LATimes)

The Clippers sit 4th in the Western Conference, winning six of their last eight games. Paul George is back after shoulder surgery and is putting up 26.4 points per contest. The Clippers are an elite rebounding team, particularly on the offensive end. The Spurs will need to do strong work on the defensive glass, as the Clippers are the fourth-best team in the league at getting second-chance points.

DeMar DeRozan put up a strong 29 points on 13-for-21 shooting against the Clippers, but he did falter in crunch time, which has been a problem for him this season. The Spurs will need to move the ball quickly, as the Clippers have very active hands. Leonard, George and Patrick Beverley are a nightmare to score against from the perimeter.

It’s a very tough homestand, but after picking up a win against the Knicks, the Spurs will look to build momentum. After a pair of improved defensive outings, the Spurs will need to continue to ramp it up on that end if they want to come out of this week with their heads held high.