In the Weekly Preview, we’ll take a look at the upcoming games for the San Antonio Spurs. This week, the Spurs play the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Spurs split a pair of games last week. They had their comeback thwarted against the Dallas Mavericks before hanging on a for a tight victory over the Orlando Magic. The Spurs remain three games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Three of the four games this week will see San Antonio on the road.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers
Monday, March 2, 7:30 PM CT
The Indiana Pacers face off against the Spurs for the first time this season. Winners of five of their last six, the Pacers are gunning for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. They are currently just a game behind the Miami Heat. The Pacers did suffer one of their worst losses in franchise history against the Toronto Raptors recently, but have reeled off three straight wins since then.
The Pacers are going to be a formidable foe. They shoot third best in the league at 47.6% and have the seventh best defensive rating as well. They know how to get it done on both sides of the ball.
A player who has been spearheading their recent stretch is newcomer TJ Warren. Over his last ten games, Warren is shooting 61.5% from the floor while averaging 21.8 points. He also brings some toughness to the Pacers as a hard-nosed player who has helped carry the scoring load.
It will be interesting to see who the Spurs put on Warren as he is a versatile scorer. Victor Oladipo is also starting to hit his groove; he had a season-high 19 points the other night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This is the only home game the Spurs have this week before heading out on the road. It’s also the toughest game, so a win here would be a huge momentum boost for San Antonio.
San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets
Tuesday, March 3, 7:00 PM CT
Last Meeting: Spurs 114, Hornets 90
The Spurs play the Hornets in Charlotte on the second night of a back-to-back. The Hornets just dropped a contest against the Milwaukee Bucks 93-85. They have gone 5-5 in their last ten games and are six games out of the final playoff spot in the East.
Last time these teams played each other, the Spurs got into a hole early before blowing out the Hornets in the second half. While the Hornets have been very up and down this season, they have been fairly stout defensively. In their loss to the Bucks, it was the first time that the Bucks had been held to under 100 points all season.
Devonte’ Graham has been the best player for the Hornets. He is averaging 17.7 points per game — five times what he averaged in his rookie year. He did struggle in his last outing versus the Spurs, going just 3-for-11 from the floor. Expect him to put in a better performance at home.
A Hornets player who did hurt San Antonio last time was Miles Bridges, who had 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting. The Spurs will need to keep a body on Bridges as his touch around the rim gets him buckets in a hurry.
The Hornets will be looking to avenge their earlier loss to the Spurs and, with it being the second night of a back-to-back, San Antonio will need to dig deep to pull out the win.
San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets
Friday, March 6, 7:30 PM CT
Last Meeting: Spurs 118, Nets 105
The Brooklyn Nets are have hit a rough skid, dropping four straight and going just 4-6 in their last ten. They sit eighth in the East, conceding the seventh seed to the Orlando Magic during this stretch. To make matters worse, the team found out recently that they have lost Kyrie Irving for the season.
Back in December, when the Spurs beat the Nets, they did so by overcoming a Herculean effort from Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie tore the Spurs apart for 41 points on 14-for-29 shooting. He was attacking the paint relentlessly, which led to ten free throws as the Spurs struggled to keep a man in front of him. The Spurs will need to throw the kitchen sink and everything else at him this time around because the Nets go as far as Dinwiddie takes them, especially with Irving out.
San Antonio was down double-digits at home against the Nets before mounting a comeback to win the game. The Spurs will need to get a jump on the Nets early in Brooklyn, as a comeback would be much more difficult to complete on the road.
San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers
Sunday, March 8, 6:30 PM CT
Last Meeting: Cavs 117, Spurs 109 (OT)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been in a tailspin since the New Year. In their last 21 games, they have been dealt 16 losses. Former Cavs coach John Beilein stepped down amidst the turmoil. The team sits last place in the East at 17-43.
As poor as the Cavs have been this season, second-year player Collin Sexton has proven that he has a future in this league. A top 30 scorer at 20.0 points per game, Sexton leads the Cavs in scoring and steals. He is averaging 25 points per game over his last three contests, so the Spurs will need to clamp down on him.
When the Spurs played the Cavs back in December, Kevin Love went off for 30 points and combined with Sexton for 21-for-43 shooting from the floor in the overtime victory for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers game should be the easiest game of the week on paper for the Spurs, but if this season has taught us anything, it’s that the Spurs tend to play to the level of their competition.
The Spurs have 24 games remaining and are just two back in the loss column to the Grizzlies. They’ll need to play better than .500 ball if they want to make the dream of the eighth seed a reality. It will be tough but if the Spurs can go 3-1 this week, that would be a great boost to the team’s morale.