Thursday, December 21- The Spurs lost 89-100 in Utah. One of the 9 games this season to feature Kawhi Leonard, his 4th in fact. The Klaw went for 10, four Spurs went for 11, and Bryn Forbes went for 12. It’s hard not to expect a W when six Spurs score in double-figures. But then again, when LaMarcus Aldridge only scores 11, things don’t often go the good guy’s way. No Danny Green, No Manu Ginobili. No wonder the Spurs dropped this one, they were short-handed in the shooting guard position. And yet, Forbes was the high scorer- an omen of things to come from the young Michigan product?
Saturday, February 2- The Spurs hosted the Jazz and lost 111-120. Wait, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 31 points. Four other Spurs in double-figures and another even four more just a mere one basket from joining them. Surely the Spurs should have won this one. What went wrong? Ah, right, Ricky Rubio went insane to the tune of 34 points and 9 assists and the Spurs had no answer for him.
Monday, February 12- The Spurs lost a heart-breaker, 99-101 to the Jazz during the 3rd game of the Rodeo Road Trip. Ah, yes, those 4th quarter meltdowns. The Spurs give up 32 in the final frame while only scoring 22, and loose by two. For those playing Spurs injury BINGO, LaMarcus Aldridge did not play in this game. Or Kawhi. Or Rudy Gay. And once again, six Spurs scored in double-figures, but only three in the teens and three lower than that.
So, what now?
San Antonio Spurs (42-30) vs. Utah Jazz (41-31)
March 23, 2018 | 7:30 pm CDT
Watch: FSSW; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI
Spurs injuries: Kawhi Leonard (if you have to ask...)
Jazz injuries: Raul Neto (wrist), Tony Bradley (diagnosed with concussion), Thabo Sefolosha (out since knee surgery)
The Jazz are 11-3 since the All-Star Break. Two of those losses were to Portland and Houston before going on a 9-game winning streak. Last Tuesday’s loss to the East’s last place Atlanta Hawks may have been shocking, but it also gave the Spurs a much needed boost in the current standings.
The Spurs are on their own winning streak while at the AT&T Center. In fact, it’s up to five games, which is a season best. The good guys are hungry this month, they’ve left February far behind them, seen the error of their 4th quarter ways, and solidified a 21st consecutive winning season. Tonight is not the night to take the foot off the pedal. Everyone suiting up in a Spurs jersey better be sipping from the Grandpa Juice Box.
I know from the comments this week that folks are just not expecting a victory tonight, but the Spurs can do themselves some favors by making the backcourt battle as close to a wash as possible. It starts with limiting dynamic rookie Donovan Mitchell, who’s averaging just under 20 points per game and went for 25 in the last meeting between the Spurs and Jazz. Even with Mitchell absent in the first two match-ups, the Spurs still couldn’t muster a win, buried under a deluge of Rubio jumpers in one and struggling to contain Rodney Hood in the other.
This is a game where Dejounte Murray’s length and Danny Green’s defensive everything will be significant factors. Blocks, steals, disrupted passes, and contested shots for anyone in the backcourt.
This game is crucial, given how close the two teams are in the standings. Head-to-head match-ups have twice the effect. The Spurs not only need to stay ahead of the Jazz, they need to beat them once this season. Like the victory over Golden State on Monday night, each victory counts. The Spurs’ record against playoff bound teams is atrocious. A late-season loss speaks larger than one single win to morale.
Good news, though — Utah comes into San Antonio on the SEGABABA via Dallas. While the Mavericks may not be the strongest team in the league, any amount of attrition they cause will be much appreciated.
The Argentinian is one steal from becoming the Spurs franchise leader in steals after landing this one against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
If anyone deserves to be at the top of the list for sacrificing his body for the greater good, it is El Contusion. Let’s cheer him on and GO SPURS GO!
Vegas prediction: Spurs by 5.5.
Game prediction: Spurs by 1. End of game nail-biter.
For the Jazz fan’s perspective, visit: SLC Dunk.
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