The Spurs return home after a one-off in Memphis. Tuesday, the Silver & Black were on their home court where they dethroned King James and his mighty band of Cavaliers. Tonight, the Philadelphia 76ers roll into San Antonio on their first night of a four game road trip. When these two teams met 23 days ago, Ben Simmons led his team to a six point win. This time, the Spurs host from the AT&T Center and are ready, willing, and able.
San Antonio Spurs (32-18) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (23-21)
January 26, 2018 | 7:30 pm CDT
Watch: Fox Sports Southwest; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI
Spurs injuries: Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis), Kawhi Leonard (injury management), Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion)
76ers injuries: Trevor Booker (finger- day to day), Jerryd Bayless (wrist), T. J. McConnell (personal- day to day)
So, the last time these two teams met Pau Gasol laid an egg, but he led the Spurs in assists, which has become a staple of the 2018 Spurs. To assume he will struggle is to not know Pau Gasol. He has off nights, but time and again he has displayed versatility. Pau has emerged as the Spurs assist leader, a dependable 3-point sharpshooter, and an endless well of high BBIQ in what is turning into a young team. His trust in me as I trust in you connections with LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, and Dejounte Murray can fill highlight reels.
In the prior meeting, Dejounte Murray started but only played 14 minutes in which he 4 points and 4 fouls with 1 rebound,1 block, and 1 turnover. These are not the numbers Murray should be putting up tonight. He’s lighting it up in his role as a starter, frustrating guards with his length and grabbing boards on both ends of the court.
When it comes to Murray’s readiness, everybody’s got opinions, but nobody’s got the answers. That said, with Tony admirably taking the off-the-bench role, Dejounte has stepped up big time earning the respect of Gregg Popovich and LeBron James- and as far as basketball goes, isn’t that really all you need? Defensively, expect Murray to shut down Ben Simmons more ferociously than before when Simmons scored 26 points on 8 of 18 shooting. With JJ Redick and Joel Embiid both scoring 20 and 21 respectively, Spurs defense will be the key. Right now, Dejounte has an opportunity to play a major role.
The Spurs lost by 6 points in the contest earlier this month, but their bench outscored Philadelphia 49 (led by Patty Mills 26) to 23. When the bench is scoring this well, a Spurs win should be a lock. Previously, there was no Parker, Ginobili, Gay or Leonard. This time, only Parker will suit up from that lot. Look for Tony to be the X-factor in a win ‘til we tear the house down.
Oh, did we mention that this match-up is in San Antonio? That’s right. The Spurs are playing much better at home, so we’ll be pumpin’ up the volume with this brand new beat. It’s Friday night, Spurs fans, cheer on the Silver & Black and GO! SPURS! GO!
Vegas prediction: Spurs by 3.5.
Game prediction: Spurs by 17.
For the Sixers fans’ perspective, visit Liberty Ballers.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.