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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Spurs start mini-series with new-look Clippers.

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

The San Antonio Spurs have lost their last eight games, and are heading into a difficult stretch of their schedule. They’ll now face the Los Angeles Clippers in two straight games at home. The Clippers just snapped their six-game losing streak in a buzzer-beating win over the Houston Rockets.

The last time the Spurs played the Clippers they lost 123-83 in a game that was never really close. That was before Los Angeles traded for all-star guard James Harden. The Silver and Black will need to contain a star-studded offensive attack in order to snap their losing streak.

San Antonio Spurs (3-10) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (4-7)

November 20, 2023 | 7 P.M. CT

Watch: KENS5 | Listen: WOAI/KXTN

Spurs injuries: Dominick Barlow – Out (G League,) Charles Bediako – Out (G League,) Sidy Cissoko – Out (G League,) Sir’Jabari Rice – Out (G League,) Blake Wesley – Out (G League,) Devin Vassell – Doubtful (left adductor)

Clippers injuries: Brandon Boston Jr. – Out (left quad,) Kobe Brown – Out (G League,) Mason Plumlee – Out (left MCL)

What to watch for

Containing ball-handlers

Last time the Spurs played the Clippers they were outscored 54-30 in the paint. Los Angeles was able to get anything they wanted inside. Now with Harden on the team, they have even more perimeter weapons to attack opposing defenses. The Spurs have struggled to contain dribble penetration over their last few contests, allowing opponents to shoot 50% from the field overall this year.

San Antonio will need to guard the perimeter well if they want to make this a close game. If not, they could be in for another long night at the Frost Bank Center.

A consistent game

It’s been a story of inconsistency for the Spurs over their losing streak. They are 1-6 in games in which they lead by 10-points, and 1-4 when they lead by 15 points. Veteran clubs have taken advantage of San Antonio’s youth, ratcheting up the pressure when they are down and causing the Spurs to fold.

“We just have trouble sustaining,” Gregg Popovich told reporters after the Spurs 120-108 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “We get those periods where the physicality builds and we go dry offensively. And if you don’t score and you’re in transition defense all the time it makes it difficult and the leads dissipate.”

The Spurs will need a consistent effort to beat a rising team in the Western Conference.

Wemby keeps it going

Despite the overall poor play, Victor Wembanyama has been excellent in two straight games. He’s coming off a game where he had 19 points, 13 rebounds and 8 blocks against Memphis. He scored 27 points the night before against Sacramento. Wembanyama isn’t shooting it efficiently, but he’s putting up strong stat lines.

He (and the rest of the Spurs) struggled against Los Angeles in their last contest. He had 11 points and 5 rebounds on 4-10 shooting. He will have a chance to get some payback against the Clippers on Monday night. The Spurs will need him to be a threat offensively while defending the rim if they want to snap their losing streak.