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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers

San Antonio’s new star faces a former Spur in first away game.

San Antonio Spurs v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

After splitting a home stand against its two in-state rivals, the San Antonio Spurs will hit the road to face a familiar foe. The Silver and Black were led to a 126-122 overtime victory by their new star, Victor Wembanyama. On Sunday, they will face off against an old star who won a championship in San Antonio – Kawhi Leonard. The last time Leonard faced the Spurs he dropped 27 points and 7 assists in a 138-100 win.

The Los Angeles Clippers are coming off a loss to the Utah Jazz where Leonard and Russell Westbrook missed clutch shots with time expiring. Los Angeles will be without one of its starters, Terrance Mann, in Sunday’s contest. San Antonio will look to win two straight as they approach one of the toughest stretches of their schedule.

San Antonio Spurs (1-1) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (1-1)

October 29, 2023 | 8:00 P.M. CT

Watch: NBA TV/Bally | Listen: WOAI/KXTN

Spurs injuries: Charles Bediako – Out (G League assignment,) Sidy Cissoko – Out (G League assignment,) Sir’Jabari Rice – Out (G League assignment)

Clippers injuries: Brandon Boston Jr. – Out (left quadricep,) Terrance Mann – Out (left ankle,) Marcus Morris Sr. – Out (coach’s decision)

What to watch for

Defending Kawhi Leonard and Paul George

The Clippers have a two-headed monster on the wing. Leonard and George have scored over 20 points in both of their outings this season. They’ll pose a threat to a Spurs team that has given up over 120 points in two-straight games.

Jeremy Sochan will likely get the matchup on one of the superstars, leaving Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell or Wembanyama to guard the other. Vassell has looked improved on the defensive end. Wembanyama has primarily guarded perimeter players. Someone will need to step up to defend one of the Clippers scoring wings.

Devin Vassell’s scoring streak

All eyes have been on Wembanyama through two games, but it’s Vassell who leads the team in scoring. Through two games he’s averaging 24 points on 53.3% from the field. He’s been effective getting to his spots off the bounce, and spotting up from range. He’s even been aggressive coming off handoffs, getting to the rim more than last season.

He’s going to draw a stiff matchup against either Leonard, George or Robert Covington. This will be a great opportunity for the up-and-coming wing to show off his scoring prowess against some of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA.

Zach Collins bouncing back

It wasn’t Collins best game on Friday. He had a tough night shooting the basketball, yet still was able to impact the game in other ways. He only had 9 points, but tallied 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. The center has been highly involved with the Spurs offense in the first two games, getting the ball on the low block and initiating offense from the high post. He will have an exploitable matchup against Clippers center, Ivica Zubac.