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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

Can the Silver and Black take care of business on the road against a Western Conference bottom-dweller?

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs picked up perhaps their most momentous victory of the season as they defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in crunch time and pulled within a few games of the tenth seed. Though the good guys are in the middle of their longest winning streak since the new year, they still have work to do if they want to clinch a trip to the play-in.

Next up for the Silver and Black is an advantageous matchup against the last-place Houston Rockets, a ball club with zero intentions of making up any ground in the Western Conference standings. The blossoming trio of Jalen Green, Christian Wood, and Kevin Porter Jr. has the talent score in bunches, but their supporting cast is far from ideal.

San Antonio Spurs (30-44) @ Houston Rockets (20-55)

March 28, 2022 | 7:00 PM CT

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

DraftKings Odds: Spurs -6.5, O/U 237

Spurs Injuries: Romeo Langford (Out — Hamstring), Doug McDermott (Out — Ankle), Lonnie Walker IV (Questionable — Back), Devin Vassell (Probable — Achilles), Devontae Cacok (Out — On Assignment), D.J. Stewart (Out — Two Way), Robert Woodard II (Out — Two Way)

Rockets Injuries: John Wall (Out — Personal), Trevelin Queen (Out — Two Way), Anthony Lamb (Out — Two Way)

What To Watch For

  • Dejounte Murray has gone 55-of-136 (40.4%) from the field and recorded 23 turnovers over his last seven games. Despite uncharacteristically poor shooting percentages and an inflated turnover rate from their All-Star, the Spurs are 5-2 in those contests. San Antonio has positioned itself to make the Western Conference play-in tournament for a second straight season. But their odds of advancing into the playoffs for the first time since 2019 are slim if the 25-year-old point guard doesn’t rediscover his form on the offensive end. Murray dominated the intentionally tanking Blazers for 28 points, six boards, and seven assists in 30 minutes less than a week ago. And the last-place Rockets should provide another golden opportunity for him to get into a terrific rhythm. Houston is home to a league-worst 115.9 Defensive Rating this season, and Dejounte should feast against Dennis Schroder, Jalen Green, and Kevin Porter Jr.
  • After a rocky beginning to his rookie season, Jalen Green is finally putting everything together on the offensive end. The 20-year-old swingman has averaged 19.5 points and 3.4 assists on .491/.392/.737 shooting splits over 15 games in March. While some of his peers are hitting the all-too-familiar rookie wall, Green has looked the part of a second overall pick and made an emphatic case for winning his first Western Conference Rookie of the Month Award. Head coach Stephen Silas has given the springy shooting guard the green light to push his on-ball creation and take more midrange jumpers, which has encouraged plenty of late-season development. The Spurs could have their plates full with Green, though Dejounte Murray will be an intriguing litmus test for the first-year standout. Devin Vassell and Josh Richardson should also spend their fair share of possessions on the G League Ignite product. San Antonio can’t forget about Kevin Porter Jr. or Christian Wood, so keep an eye on who covers those parts of their trio throughout the night.
  • The Rockets have been torching defenses from beyond the arc, draining 39.5% of their 36.8 three-point attempts over the last week. Their heater kicked off once Jalen Green and Christian Wood started clicking, but their leading scorers aren’t the only ones propelling this long-distance barrage. Jalen Green, Christian Wood, Alperen Sengun, Dennis Schroder, Jae’Sean Tate, Eric Gordon, and Kenyon Martin Jr. have all shot better than league-average (35.2%) during this span, and their marksmanship has won them a couple of contests. The Silver and Black held their opponents to 29.3% from deep a week ago. However, a 7-of-26 (26.9%) outing from Portland heavily swayed that percentage. Only four teams have attempted more trifectas than Houston this season, so protecting the perimeter should be a point of emphasis for San Antonio.

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