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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The Spurs look to build on their win streak against the streaky Blazers

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t look now, but after hard-earned wins over the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Spurs are on the verge of their longest win streak since December of 2021.

In order to extend that streak though, they’ll need to beat the suddenly hot Trail Blazers. Though the Blazers have been a tad inconsistent this season, a good bit of that inconsistency has revolved around the health of Damian Lillard, who after an injury marred 2021 has returned to the form that earned the ‘Dame Time’ nickname in the first place.

And while Lillard has already had his share of bumps and bruises this season, he appears to be as healthy and lethal as ever over the last few games, so it seems that the Spurs won’t be benefiting from his absence in this one.

On the other hand, the Spurs are still struggling with some nagging injuries of their own. With significant contributors Josh Richardson and Zach Collins marked as doubtful for the contest, and a front-court still thinned by Jakob Poeltl’s absence, it’s likely they’ll have their hands full with more than Portland’s back-court superstar.

Still, this recent streak has come in spite of San Antonio’s injury-filled season, so it’s hard to count the Silver and Black out in spite of the circumstances. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen them succeed in spite of injury.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs

December 14th, 2022 | 7:00 PM CT

Watch: Bally Sports Southwest| Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins - Doubtful (Ankle), Josh Richardson - Questionable (Hand), Romeo Langford - Doubtful (Hand), Jakob Poeltl - Out (Knee), Keita Bates-Diop - Out (Foot)

Trail Blazers Injuries: Nassir Little - Out (Hip), Gary Payton II - Out (Abdomen), Drew Eubanks - Probable (Hip), Josh Hart - Probable (Ankle)

What to watch for:

  • Youthful Pluck and Hustle: As thin as the front-court is likely to be in this one, the key to the game will likely revolve around successfully defending the arc in spite of interior woes. The Trail Blazers are currently shooting just shy of 39% as a team from beyond the the three-point line. Last year’s deadline deals aside, Damien Lillard has a new running-mate in Jerami Grant, who’s been flirting with a 40/50/80 season all year. If the Spurs get even the slightest bit sloppy defending the long-ball, this one could get ugly in a hurry, so the youngsters will need to show out on the less glamorous end to have real shot at upending another non-tanking squad.

For the Trail Blazers’ fans’ perspective, visit Blazers Edge.

PtR’s 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.