San Antonio Spurs' schedule lookahead as race for Wembanyama heats up
The San Antonio Spurs are plodding toward the end of the regular season with a horrendous 17-50 record that should lock them into a bottom-three spot in the league standings and guarantee them the best odds of landing the first pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. But with only a few games separating them from catching the Charlotte Hornets, how about we examine all their upcoming matchups for this week?
Tue, March 14: vs. Orlando Magic (28-40) at 7:00 PM CT
Orlando has the worst record out of the four teams visiting the Spurs this week, but they still have something worth fighting for before their season ends. The Magic are only 3.5 games outside tenth place and the final slot in the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament, and their youngsters have all the motivation in the world to get their first taste of postseason action.
Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero led their ball club to a blowout victory over the Spurs right before Christmas. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell had trouble overcoming the positional size of Orlando in round one, and it could be more of the same for San Antonio as head coach Jamahl Mosley will surely use his lanky defenders to gain the upper hand in this rematch.
Wed, March 15: vs. Dallas Mavericks (34-34) at 7:30 PM CT
The Mavericks have won six consecutive games against San Antonio. And their recent dominance of the I-35 rivalry probably isn't ending soon after adding Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline. The controversial superstar had 23 points in 30 minutes and played a pivotal role in Dallas dismantling the Spurs in their first contest following the 2023 NBA All-Star Break.
While Luka Doncic suffered a left thigh strain that left him on the sidelines when his team faced the Grizzlies this weekend, he could return when the Mavericks make a pit stop at the AT&T Center. With Dallas having a nearly clear injury report for the first time in months, this matchup might be what they are looking for as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Fri, March 17: vs. Memphis Grizzlies (40-26) at 7:00 PM CT
Could things be worse for the Grizzlies? Ja Morant remains away from the team after brandishing a firearm on social media. Brandon Clarke is out of service for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles. And starting center Steven Adams is still nursing a sprained knee that has left Memphis down their most critical veteran leader as they jockey for homecourt advantage.
San Antonio upset the first-place Nuggets three days ago, and they could have a legitimate shot at handing another Western Conference contender another stunning loss. Gregg Popovich has his shorthanded group playing some of their best basketball of the season, and the Spurs can shut down opposing offenses if they show up unprepared for a 48-minute slugfest.
Sun, March 19: vs. Atlanta Hawks (34-34) at 3:00 PM CT
The Spurs finish their six-game homestand with round two against Atlanta and their high-octane attack. The first game was one-sided in favor of the Hawks. With every contest holding playoff-seeding implications from here on out for head coach Quin Snyder and crew, expect that to offer them an incentive to put forth maximum effort.
Between Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, John Collins, and Clint Capela, the Hawks have more talent and depth than San Antonio. Though San Antonio loses this matchup on paper, they might have extra gas in their tank when they welcome Murray back to the 2-1-0 for the first time since trading him across conferences this summer.