The San Antonio Spurs have been torn apart by several stunning individual performances this season, but the most devastating culprit will be sidelined on Saturday. The Rockets and Spurs split their season series so far despite Houston being severely shorthanded in both matchups in San Antonio. Much of that was because of Christian Wood.
Wood has been on a tear through 16 games this season, averaging 22.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 32 minutes per game. Against San Antonio, he’s just been downright ridiculous. Christian put up a staggering 25.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, and three blocks per game while shooting 60 percent from downtown.
For much of the time, Wood made defenders look like toddlers trying to defend their fathers in the two games. Christian was undoubtedly on his way to his first All-Star appearance this season, but the unfortunate injury he suffered Thursday evening could throw a wrench in that.
After injuring his ankle, Christian Wood tried to shoot his free throws.
His teammates convinced him to go back to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/bvQz366l0p
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 5, 2021
What this means for the San Antonio Spurs
The immediate effect on Saturday’s game is pretty obvious. San Antonio had absolutely no answers for Wood in both matchups so far, but Saturday had the potential to be a little different.
With LaMarcus Aldridge likely still nursing his hip injury, it was going to be interesting to see how well Jakob Poeltl could defend Wood, given his defensive acumen. After all, his defense at the rim has been at the top of the league.
Per @cleantheglass, opponents shoot 11.6% worse at the rim when Jakob Poeltl is on the floor (99th percentile).
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) February 5, 2021
Instead, a full-strength fight between the top two Texas teams will have to be delayed yet again. Despite barely having enough players to dress against the Spurs, the Rockets hung tough in both games and nearly pulled them both off. Even though the greatest Spurs killer this season won’t be on the floor, San Antonio should know by now they can’t take any opponent lightly this season.
While tests still need to be done on the severity of Christian’s injury, he’ll likely miss several weeks when you consider he couldn’t walk after the game.
The Rockets are concerned that star center Christian Wood could be sidelined for an extended period after injuring his right ankle for the second time in a span of less than three weeks, sources told ESPN.
“It didn’t look great," coach Stephen Silas said. "It was unfortunate.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 5, 2021
Whoever wins Saturday’s showdown will be the top-seeded team in Texas for the time being, as the Dallas Mavericks are now sitting at 9-14 after losing 147-116 to Golden State. Tipoff is set for February 6th at 8 pm ET from the Toyota Center.