A depleted depth chart finally caught up to the San Antonio Spurs as they suffered a massive blowout to the long-limbed Toronto Raptors in the first loss of their four-game homestand. Live-ball turnovers and lousy shooting tormented the youngsters, and they will seek to leave that performance in the rearview mirror as the Los Angeles Clippers come to town.
The Silver and Black are underdogs again, but that designation has meant almost nothing this season. With Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell in the lineup and Kawhi Leonard out of commission, head coach Gregg Popovich and crew have all the resources to take the lead in the first of four games between these Western Conference competitors this season.
San Antonio Spurs (5-3) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (4-4)
November 4, 2022 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs: Zach Collins (Questionable — Heel), Romeo Langford (Questionable — Toe), Isaiah Roby (Questionable — Illness), Blake Wesley (Out — MCL), Charles Bassey (Out — Two-Way), Dominick Barlow (Out — Two-Way)
Clippers: Robert Covington (Out — Health and Safety Protocols), Kawhi Leonard (Out — Knee), Jason Preston (Out — On Assignment), Moussa Diabate (Out — Two-Way)
What To Watch For
- Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell will share the court for the first time since the fourth game of the season, a much-needed break for a Spurs team that trailed Toronto by as many as 48 points in a demoralizing loss on Wednesday night. That duo was responsible for 67.5 points per game between their scoring and facilitating, and San Antonio was left shuffling lineups and personnel to replace their production against the Raptors. As discussed in the last preview, Gregg Popovich has constructed an offense predicated on sharing the ball, player movement, and pushing the pace at every chance possible. Although his philosophy will remain intact once his go-to options return to the hardwood, they make executing his game plan more seamless with their mastery of getting to their spots and converting off little-to-no dribbles. Johnson and Vassell should have the green light from the get-go, which should give fans a reason to smile after a hectic week.
- The Clippers have been out of sorts after getting off to a shaky start this season, but no one should underestimate the sleeping giant. Though Los Angeles possesses the fifth-worst point differential and lowest-scoring offense in the league, you can directly attribute their struggles to anemic shooting. The Clippers have gone 31.3% from beyond the arc, tying them with the “Trust the Process” Sixers for the worst three-point percentage over the last decade. That ghastly success rate is unlikely to persist for much longer, especially with long-distance deadeyes like Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Norman Powell, and Marcus Morris Sr. on their roster. Kennard and Morris are already torching the twine. As for the remaining members of that quintet, they have shot a combined 18-of-63 (28.6%) from three. Can you imagine how much better this would-be Western Conference contender will perform once their floor spacers eventually progress to the mean?
- Paul George has been hot or cold and nothing in between for Los Angeles thus far. The seven-time All-Star has dropped 40, 35, and 28 on ludicrous efficiency in a handful of victories, and he also recorded 16, 14, and 10 on terrible shooting splits in three losses. Despite his inconsistency, PG-13 has averaged 22.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game while adjusting to an unfamiliar landscape. Kawhi Leonard has bounced in and out of the lineup, muddying the water for George as he juggles propelling the offense and operating in a secondary role on a nightly basis. With that said, he is capable of burning anyone. Keldon Johnson will likely draw the initial assignment, but Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Josh Richardson, and Keita Bates-Diop should spend some possessions defending George.
For the Clippers fans’ perspective, please visit Clips Nation.
The Game Thread 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.