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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Can the Silver and Black bounce back against a Western Conference contender in the second matchup of their nine-game homestand?

NBA: FEB 03 Spurs at Clippers Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

San Antonio is on a two-game losing streak after dropping the opening outing of their nine-game homestand on Monday night. They must now quickly rebound against the fourth-place Clippers if they hope to avoid falling further in the tight Western Conference standings. But that won’t be an easy task as Los Angeles could see the return of Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka when they come to the AT&T Center.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be a handful for head coach Gregg Popovich and crew. However, the Silver and Black always come prepared for a showdown with the former face of their franchise. And the good guys are finally getting their ideal starting lineup of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, and Jakob Poeltl on the same page after injuries kept them from building chemistry.

San Antonio Spurs (22-18) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (28-16)

March 24, 2021 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: LaMarcus Aldridge (Out - Not With Team), Keita Bates-Diop (Out - Hamstring), Lonnie Walker IV (Out — Wrist), Rudy Gay (Questionable — Foot)

Clippers Injuries: Jay Scrubb (Out — Foot), Serge Ibaka (Game Time Decision — Back), Patrick Beverley (Game Time Decision — Knee)

What to Watch For

  • The Spurs are allowed their opponents to shoot the ninth-best three-point percentage (37.5%) in the NBA this season, and Los Angeles is shooting a league-high 41.4% from beyond the arc. Nine Clippers shoot at least 38% from long-range, and San Antonio could be in for a long night if they can’t communicate or keep track of their man away from the ball. The good guys have held teams to a striking 32.9% from perimeter over their last five games, but this is the sort of matchup that could skew that number back in the wrong direction.
  • Lonnie Walker IV only suited up for nine minutes against the Hornets on Monday night after dropping a career-high 31 points in the previous outing. The third-year guard looked a little banged up out there, and it makes sense that he popped up on the injury report with a sore right wrist. Lonnie held Kawhi to just nine points on 44.4% from the field when designated as his primary defender in San Antonio’s victory over the Clippers earlier this season, and someone else will have to step up in his stead. Look for Derrick White and Keldon Johnson to spend a bulk of their defensive possessions guarding the perennial MVP candidate.
  • Los Angeles has been wildly inconsistent over their last 12 games, losing to the Grizzlies, Wizards, Celtics, and Pelicans, but picking up a trifecta of blow-out victories during that same span. While the extended absence of Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley hasn’t helped their cause, both players might find their way back onto the court and into the starting lineup by the time we reach Wednesday evening. Neither veteran is a major scoring threat, though they play a significant part in what the Clippers do on both ends.
  • Paul George and Kawhi Leonard form one of the most dangerous two-way tandems in the league. The Los Angeles superstars are mere percentage points away from becoming the first pair of 50-40-90 teammates in league history. They are also just two of 18 players averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game this season. While Pop has the personnel to cover the All-NBA wings, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell will likewise have to overcome the defensive pressure from a multitude of versatile Clippers defenders.
  • The NBA trade deadline falls on March 25 at 2 PM CST this season, and while that usually means nothing for the Spurs, there has been plenty of buzz as of late. Shams Charania reported PATFO were listening to deals for DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Rudy Gay, and Trey Lyles three weeks ago, and several ensuing reports from a handful of credible outlets have substantiated that claim. The last time San Antonio executed a midseason swap was in 2014 when they sent Nando De Colo to the Raptors for Austin Daye. Don’t be surprised if the Spurs roster looks a little different during pre-game warmups. You shouldn’t be shocked if the Silver and Black stand pat either.

For the Clippers fans’ perspective, visit Clips Nation.

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.