If the San Antonio Spurs are looking for time off to nurse nagging injuries, they won’t be getting that anytime soon. Sunday evening’s matchup with the Washington Wizards will tip off a slate of five games in seven nights that includes two back-to-backs to bookend the week.
After reaching an 8-6 mark with a dominant victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Spurs allowed over 120 points to both the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks in a pair of humbling losses heading into week six.
As usual, the Western Conference is an absolute logjam, with seeds four through 10 all being within one game of each other as of Sunday afternoon. With their floor leader in Dejounte Murray expected to return Sunday after twisting his ankle against Dallas, the San Antonio Spurs will need to take advantage of two non-contending teams early on.
The Good and the Bad for the San Antonio Spurs
While the Spurs will be starting the week against two teams currently struggling, there’s never a comfortable night for his team. They’ve consistently played down to their competition, not to mention the fact that they’re currently 0-2 this season on the second night of a back-to-back.
San Antonio will play host for four of the five games this week, but the competition only improves as it goes on. First up will be a date with the team that’s been the most decimated by COVID-19 in the league.
Next: Games 1-3
1. Washington Wizards @ San Antonio Spurs, 1/24 @ 8 pm ET
The Washington Wizards have been so destroyed by injuries and COVID-19 that I couldn’t even find an image to represent them on this page. It would be easier to say who’s actually available for Washington Sunday, as there are currently nine guys listed as day-to-day or worse for them.
The Wizards haven’t played a basketball game since January 11th, having had six consecutive games postponed since then. While there’s no such thing as a surefire win for these Spurs, this is about as close as you can get to one.
San Antonio needs to respect their opponent, but if they play even halfway decent, they should win this one going away. There’s absolutely no reason to drop this game considering the circumstances.
Final Score Prediction: Spurs 116, Wizards 103
2. San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans, 1/25 @ 9 pm ET
Whoever created the NBA schedule wasn’t kind to the Spurs when it comes to facing the New Orleans Pelicans. For the second time in as many meetings, San Antonio will be traveling to The Big Easy to try to hang with the young duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram on the second night of a back-to-back.
In their first meeting, the Spurs had no answer for the duo, who combined for 46 points and 22 rebounds in a 98-95 Pelicans win. This is a game in which the Spurs are especially going to miss Derrick White, and I feel that absence will make the difference.
The Pelicans will be coming off a six-game road trip where they lost five, so they’ll be motivated upon their return to the Smoothie King Center. This one has loss written all over it.
Final Score Prediction: Pelicans 107, Spurs 100
3. Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs, 1/27 @ 8:30 pm ET
San Antonio has done a decent job of playing above their heads against stiffer competition so far this season. Wednesday’s game against the Celtics will be the first test of that this week. Boston is coming off a three-game losing streak going into Sunday’s game with Cleveland, but they’re still expected to be toward the top of the Eastern Conference when all is said and done.
The Spurs and Celtics have had similar seasons so far, highlighted by inconsistency mixed with mediocre statistics on both sides of the ball. This one is about as unpredictable a game as I’ve had to pick a horse in, but I’ll narrowly give the Silver and Black this one.
Final Score Prediction: Spurs 105, Celtics 102
Next: Games 4 & 5
4. Denver Nuggets @ San Antonio Spurs, 1/29 @ 8:30 pm ET
They got off to a slow after their surprise trip to the Western Conference Finals last season, but the Denver Nuggets are back to their winning ways. Sweeping a two-game series against the Phoenix Suns that involved three overtime periods, Denver will continue their road trip against the Mavericks and Heat before their showdown with the Spurs Friday.
Nikola Jokic is one of those names that makes you shudder as a Spurs fan, as he’s been completely unstoppable against the Silver and Black for years. Gregg Popovich will need to properly scheme for a man that will go down as the best passing big man of all time when the Nuggets come to town. Oh yeah, and there’s also Jamal Murray.
This is another game in which White’s absence will be tough to overcome, as the Nuggets have about six different guys capable of putting up 25-plus any given night. Maybe the Spurs will surprise me, but I’m not feeling very confident in this one.
Final Score Prediction: Nuggets 116, Spurs 109
5. Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs, 1/30 @ 8:30 pm ET
After starting the season just 2-6, the Memphis Grizzlies have been on fire lately. Despite them missing Ja Morant for three of their last five games, the Grizzlies managed to win them all to bring their record back up to 7-6.
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This means they won’t have played since January 18th when they visit the Alamo City for games on January 30th and February 1st.
With the way rosters are constantly shuffling due to the unusual circumstances of the season, it’s tough to say who exactly will or won’t be available by Saturday.
Still, assuming most of both rosters are healthy and able to go, I think the Spurs are the better team overall. I believe San Antonio will finally end their “second night of a back-to-back” woes here.
Final Score Prediction: Spurs 113, Grizzlies 104
Current season prediction record: 8-8