After being trounced in their trip to Detroit at the start of the month, the San Antonio Spurs will look to return the favor – this time at home.
On December 1, 2019, the San Antonio Spurs suffered their most embarrassing loss of the season. With star power forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge missing, the Spurs were throttled by a middling Detroit Pistons team led by big man Christian Wood’s career-best 28-point outing.
Working his way in and out of the G League, there’s a strong belief that Wood could be a great player, but he’s a no-name to the casual fan and that’s not an acceptable way to lose.
This time around, the Spurs have a healthy rotation and a chip on their shoulders as the Pistons visit them on their own turf. San Antonio lost it’s previous matchup on the road against the rising Dallas Mavericks, but only by four points. When speaking with reporters, point guard Patty Mills – the heart and soul of this Spurs team – spoke about a newfound energy in the locker room.
Patty Mills said after shootaround this morning there's a feeling in the locker room things could "click into gear" soon for the #Spurs. He said the club has a sense of "hunger and eagerness to get better" and that there's been no sense of "white flags or giving up."
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 28, 2019
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This could be huge for the Spurs heading into tonight’s matchup. First and foremost, San Antonio needs a full team-effort in controlling the boards in this one. Detroit center Andre Drummond, who I mentioned earlier in the season as an excellent potential trade target for the Spurs, is a historically adept rebounder with uncanny presence in and around the paint.
Therefore, coach Gregg Popovich should be inclined to play rim protector Jakob Poeltl extra minutes in the matchup despite seeing limited action in recent games.
It’d also be beneficial to see less minutes for sharpshooter Bryn Forbes, who has struggled as of late, and more minutes for the tandem of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray. The combo is finally getting some action alongside each other and could be crucial in limiting three-point shooting (Detroit made 15-of-31 triples in the last meeting) and guard rebounding (Detroit won the rebounding battle 50-31).
If this team is serious about getting back into the playoff picture and legitimizing it’s chances of competing with the Western Conference elite, being a middle-of-the-pack Eastern Conference foe at home is absolutely necessary.