San Antonio Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons Preseason: Game Info and What to Watch For
By Albert Pérez Oyola
The San Antonio Spurs are coming off their first preseason game in which they defeated the Miami Heat 104-100. Tonight, they face the injury plagued Detroit Pistons at the AT&T Center.
It has been 13 years since the epic 2005 NBA Finals showdown between the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons. Plenty has changed between both franchises, so what should we expect from the Spurs’ second preseason game?
The team will look to provide more playing time to role players as the rotation continues to see adjustments with the regular season around the corner. This is unquestionably unlike past seasons, where the need for significant adjustments lacked and uncertainty didn’t exist. Head coach Gregg Popovich is still trying to see figure out how all the pieces fit together.
No Reggie Jackson (right ankle) for the Pistons tonight. Blake Griffin not starting, but not on injury list.
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) October 4, 2018
Detroit is looking toward playoff contention in the wide-open Eastern Conference. They played without forwards Jon Leuer, and Blake Griffin during the first preseason game. Leuer is out with injury, but Griffin’s absence seemed attributed to the coach’s decision, so his status for tonight’s game is uncertain. The Pistons are also without starting guard Reggie Jackson.
Date: Friday, Oct. 5Time: 7:30 p.m. CSTLocation: San Antonio, TXVenue: AT&T CenterTV Info: N/ALive Stream: NBA League Pass
What to expect
Expect the same starting lineup from last Sunday deployed during this matchup. Popovich went with the presumed Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, and Dejounte Murray starting five against the Heat and we have no indication of things changing around.
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The aforementioned staring five probably won’t see much playing time outside of the first-half. Preseason is normally reserved for the role players to display their skills in trying to gain a spot in the rotation. Patty Mills became the first player off-the-bench against the Heat, replacing Murray. Davis Bertans and Marco Belinelli followed, providing Gasol and Gay some relief. Lastly, Bryn Forbes and Jakob Poeltl came in for Aldridge and DeRozan.
It’s quite possible that Coach Pop has that rotation in mind to start the season, but anything can change during these preseason matchups, so anticipate players outside of that initial rotation to make compelling cases (Derrick White, Quincy Pondexter, Dante Cunningham, and Chimezie Metu).
Rookie Lonnie Walker IV didn’t see any action during the first preseason game. This might change tonight, but he’s already been made aware that a place in the rotation is far from guaranteed.
The Spurs should easily win this game, but again, it’s the preseason. We shouldn’t be alarmed if they don’t come out on top. However, the game should provide early glimpses into the initial rotational schemes.
What to keep an eye on
The Gasol vs. Poeltl discussion continues to catch steam. It’s likely that Jakob will outplay Pau throughout the preseason. He’ll obtain higher minutes, and he’ll want to continue demonstrating he belongs in the rotation.
With that said, once the regular season begins, Pau should move to try to solidify his place in the starting lineup. Prepare for the discussion to take place throughout the 2018-19 campaign, especially if the Spaniard fails to meet expectations.
? POLL TIME ?
If Coach Pop came to you and asked who you think deserves to start alongside Dejounte, DeMar, Rudy and LaMarcus, who would you pick? #GoSpursGo
— Air Alamo (@AirAlamo) October 1, 2018
Forbes vs. Belinelli vs. White vs. Walker is another interesting topic. One can almost bet on Walker seeing some time in the G-League, but the minutes distribution between the other three will probably be determined on a game-by-game basis.
It should be an interesting matchup, as the Spurs strive to quickly build up chemistry and keep zeroing in on final roster adjustments before the beginning of the regular season.