In a season of uncertainty, the San Antonio Spurs are proving to be one of the most unpredictable teams in the league. After securing a 10-10 prediction record going into last week, I failed to see another Memphis beatdown coming while also thinking the Rockets would defend their homecourt. As such, I’m now 11-12 heading into this week’s three games.
In the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs are riding a two-game winning streak into this week’s slate of games behind an inspired defense that has suddenly re-entered the top 10 in rating.
The San Antonio Spurs have a golden opportunity
Now sitting at fifth in the Western Conference at 13-10, the Spurs have a prime opportunity to distance themselves from a team they’ll likely be fighting with for a lower playoff seed, which I’ll dive into shortly.
After Tuesday, the Spurs won’t host a game until a February 27th game with the New Orleans Pelicans. The annual Rodeo Road Trip will feature an Eastern-Conference-heavy schedule that could make or break the Spurs’ chances at securing a playoff seed.
Before that trip, the Spurs will look to enact revenge on the team that blew them off the court in their first meeting.
Next: Games 1 & 2
1. Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs, 2/8 @ 8:30 PM ET
Monday’s meeting with the Golden State Warriors promises to look noticeably different than the first one on January 20th. LaMarcus Aldridge, who had probably his worst game of the season in San Francisco, will likely miss both games when the Warriors visit the Alamo City.
Rookie sensation James Wiseman finished with 20 points and six boards on 8-of-11 shooting in January’s game but will also be sidelined for both with a wrist injury. Not only should the Spurs’ defense look much better with Jakob Poeltl and Drew Eubanks getting more minutes, but it’s unlikely they’ll fail to reach 100 as they did last time.
The Spurs are hitting their defensive stride, and while Stephen Curry will be a handful, I think they even the series at 1-1 Monday.
Final score: Spurs 113, Warriors 106
2. Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs, 2/9 @ 8:30 PM ET
History has shown the second night of back-to-backs isn’t particularly kind to the Spurs. This season, they’re 0-3 in that situation, with the most recent loss being a thrashing from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Still, the other two such losses were by an average of just 5.5 points. The Spurs aren’t the same old squad that constantly needed days off for their stars — they’ve just been unfortunate in how some of these have ended as opposed to tired.
That said, I’m going solely on a gut feeling that the streak might just continue one more time against a pesky Warriors squad. Golden State takes round three behind a hot-shooting night.
Final score: Warriors 109, Spurs 102
Next: Game 3
3. San Antonio Spurs @ Atlanta Hawks, 2/12 @ 7:30 PM ET
The last time the Spurs and Hawks met was over one year ago when Atlanta squeaked by with a 121-120 win in San Antonio. That was the first time the Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio since 1997.
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- Spurs’ opponents are making unfortunate history at ATT Center
Now, Atlanta will be the site of the first of seven straight road games for the Silver and Black, who are an impressive 7-3 on the road to start the season. Meanwhile, the Hawks are just 6-7 at home and 11-12 overall.
Behind the power trio of Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter, and John Collins, the Hawks have the 11th-best offense in the NBA and make more free throws per game than everyone.
Unfortunately for them, De’Andre Hunter will be missing a few weeks after undergoing a non-surgical procedure in his right knee.
The Spurs are one of the most disciplined teams in the league in terms of not committing fouls, so the Hawks shouldn’t expect to get their average of 26 free throw attempts per game in this one.
By now, I think Derrick White will be in his usual starting role with Dejounte Murray in the backcourt, which can be an effective counter to Young’s explosiveness. San Antonio gets revenge with a nailbiter of their own in Atlanta.
Final score: Spurs 116, Hawks 114
Current season prediction record: 11-12