The annual Rodeo Road Trip is upon us and it couldn’t be more important for the Spurs. At 22-26 with some bad losses to poor teams, San Antonio is about to enter what is undoubtedly the most daunting part of their schedule. They will play 7 road games against teams that lead them in the standings and 6 against teams with at least 30 wins.
They’ll get the job started tonight from Los Angeles with a FIGABABA against former Spur Kawhi Leonard and his Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers, who have dealt with more than their fair share of injuries and load management this season, find themselves tied for the 2nd seed with the Denver Nuggets just 3.5 games back of the first seeded Los Angeles Lakers.
San Antonio Spurs (22-26) at Los Angeles Clippers (34-15)
February 3, 2020 | 9:30 PM CT
Watch: FSSW, NBATV | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: None
Clippers Injuries: Mfiondu Kabengela (shoulder — day to day)
What to watch for:
- Kawhi Leonard comes into this game averaging 34.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game over his last 9 games played. He has scored 30 in 9 consecutive games, the longest stretch of his career. The Clippers, who were without Paul George for a majority of those games, have an 8-1 record in those 9 contests. The former Spur and reigning Finals MVP had 26 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals in just 27 minutes when these two teams met last in San Antonio before Christmas, a 134-109 beat down of the Spurs at the AT&T Center. If the Spurs want to have a chance to keep this close, they’ll have to make Leonard work for everything he gets.
- After floundering for half of the first half against the Hornets, the Spurs found themselves down 18 points early in the 3rd quarter of their last home game for nearly a month. Then, Gregg Popovich sat Bryn Forbes on the bench, inserted Derrick White and Jakob Poeltl, and the comeback was on. The extra oomph White brings on the perimeter defensively, in conjunction with Dejounte Murray, allowed San Antonio to close down many of the open passing lanes. With Bryn Forbes riding the pine for the entire comeback, PtR’s CharlieOCharles wondered aloud in his recap of the Hornets game whether or not that means something for the rotations going forward. Against a team as good as the Clippers would be the most opportune time to roll with your best defensive players in the hopes of working the Clipper offense.
- Paul George is currently working his way back from a hamstring injury that saw him sidelined for all but 3 games in the month of January. His most recent performance was a 21-point, 7-rebound effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday afternoon. George has struggled against San Antonio this season, averaging just 8 points a game on 27% shooting between the two match-ups he has played in. If the Spurs can continue to limit George as they have done so in their previous meetings, it gives them an even greater chance at kicking off the Rodeo Road Trip with a win.
For the Clippers fan’s perspective, please visit Clips Nation.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this afternoon for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.