The last time the San Antonio Spurs played in Philadelphia, I boldly predicted that Ben Simmons would have a bad game, the Spurs would rebound from their previous loss to the 76ers, and the result would be “Spurs by 17!”.
Well, the gamed ended in a 17 point differential, but the team for whom I was rooting was on the receiving end of the wallop.
Last December, the Spurs handled the 76ers easily in a 27 point win at the AT&T Center. But will the home court favor the home team? And will the Spurs shake off the rust of the last week?
San Antonio Spurs (27-21) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (31-17)
January 23, 2019 | 7:00 PM CT
Listen: WOAI | Watch: KENS 5/ESPN
Spurs Injuries: Dejounte Murray (torn ACL), Davis Bertans (personal)
76ers Injuries: Jimmy Butler (wrist- questionable), Ben Simmons (wrist- questionable), Justin Patton (foot), Markelle Fultz (shoulder/wrist), Zhaire Smith (foot)
Since the Spurs overtime win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 10th, the Silver & Black have gone 2-3. To be honest, the two wins have not been pretty. Part of the concern is the tepid play of DeMar DeRozan. He has fessed up to his struggle which leaves each game to possibly be his return to form. That determination will go along way in defining tonight’s outcome.
Injuries, injuries, and more injuries
The Spurs have endured the entire season without Dejounte Murray. The start saw Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV on the sidelines. But White has more than made up for missed games. His basketball IQ and shot-making ability forces defenses to cover him from every location on the floor. He has yet to become “lethal,” but he is formidable against any team from both ends of the floor. Look for tags of “two-way” to garner his descriptions in the weeks and months to come.
Davis Bertans is out and while one Spurs does not a win make, a sharp-shooting distance shooter coming off the bench makes a huge difference. Marco Belinelli missed one game last week and his scoring may have been the difference.
On the other side, the Philadelphia 76ers could be off tonight simply on injuries. With Jimmy Butler AND Ben Simmons questionable, their starting line-up could look unfamiliar. That said, this is one of those games where any bench player could stand up in an effort to make his name known. The Spurs must be ready for anything tonight.
Big men make it or break it
My humble prediction is that this game will be won in the paint and on the boards. LaMarcus Aldridge is the go-to early when the Spurs start strong and his dominance in near the hoop defines the offense on many occasions. If Joel Embiid plays him too close, the young man will experience foul trouble, which opens the floodgates for LMA to take over.
Vegas Line: 76ers by 4.5
Game Prediction: Spurs by 17 (yep, I’m doubling down)
For the 76ers fan perspective, please check out Liberty Ballers.
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.