San Antonio Spurs: The road to the playoffs begins in Utah
By Raymond Rodriguez
The San Antonio Spurs, at 23-31, look to start the 2nd half of the season by adding another W in the win/loss column.
Here we go Spurs fans! The San Antonio Spurs look to turn their season around starting by extending their win streak to two versus the Utah Jazz. Spurs fans everywhere have been itching to see the boys in silver and black get back on the hardwood.
On the back end of the Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs need to garner as many wins as they can to secure the 8th seed. Currently, they are 5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who face the toughest schedule to end their season. The road to the playoffs begins tonight against a very formidable Utah Jazz team.
The last time the Spurs faced the Utah Jazz, they came away with a gritty 127-120 victory. In that game, the Spurs shot a very efficient 61% field goal percentage. Spurs superstar DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 38 points on 57.9% shooting while grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists, all while missing his running mate, LaMarcus Aldridge, who was out due to a sprained right thumb. If the Spurs look to take a 2-0 season series lead on the playoff-bound Jazz squad, we are going to need to see an aggressive DeRozan.
The Spurs will need contributions across the board, but with LaMarcus available to play this second matchup, and DeRozan coming back from dealing with back spasms, the load will be lighter on the role players. During the January 29th match-up with the Jazz, the Spurs had 4 bench players score in double digits: Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, Derrick White, and Marco Belinelli. While we hope that we get that same bench production, we are crossing our fingers for a Lonnie Walker IV increase in minutes, even potential start over Bryn Forbes to boost the defense.
If the Spurs are truly going to make that push for the 8th seed in the West, the key to success for the coveted 8th seed is our franchise point guard Dejounte Murray. In the last game before the All-Star Break, Murray scored a season-high 25 points with 9 rebounds and 3 assists. If that game versus the Thunder is any indication of what’s to come with Murray, then the Spurs are in good hands.
Gameday bets and prediction
In the last matchup versus the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 31 points on 45% shooting. San Antonio must use their defensive anchors, Murray and White, to limit Mitchell in their second matchup.
Every game from here on out is a virtual must-win for the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve backed themselves into a corner and have no option but to scratch and claw for every tough win for the rest of the season. The +7.5 spread is daunting but I expect the Spurs to come out aggressive and full of energy after a long break.
Tonight’s game will be a good indicator of how the Spurs plan to claw their way back into the playoff picture. It won’t be easy, but it will be interesting to see how the second half of the season plays out.