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It’s time for Basketball: Spurs at Pelicans

San Antonio is in New Orleans for the first night of a road back to back

San Antonio Spurs v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the Game Thread. Veterans of the Game Thread know how we do things around here, but for all you newbies we have a few rules. Our community guidelines apply and basically say be cool, no personal attacks, don’t troll and don’t swear too much.

Eight of the Spurs’ last 11 games are on the road, starting with tonight’s contest against the slumping Pelicans, who are currently in 12th place, needing wins to get back into the play-in hunt. New Orleans looked like a contender early in the season, but with Zion Williamson missing time with various injuries, they haven’t been all that competitive recently, and are in an awkward position late in the season, too many wins to tank effectively, but not good enough to get anywhere in the post-season even if they can pass up the Lakers and Jazz for that final play-in slot.

With Zach Collins out tonight, and Charles Bassey out for the season, the Pelicans have a huge advantage in the paint, and expect Sandro Mamukelashvili to receive plenty of abuse inside from Jonas Valanciuanas, Jaxson Hayes, and Willy Hernangomez. If he gets in trouble, we will see more time from Dominick Barlow, who is still learning to play the pivot, and Gorgui Dieng, who just isn’t quick enough to defend modern NBA bigs at this point in his career.

The matchup to watch tonight should be Devonte’ Graham on CJ McCollum (if Graham plays). CJ should be able to score at will on the smaller Graham, but if Devonte’ can play, he will be motivated to score a ton of points against his old team. Keldon Johnson took a ton of knocks in the Atlanta game, including having John Collins sit on him after a made basket, so I’m surprised he’s available tonight, but he’s shown himself to be a rugged player in the past, so maybe tonight he can take over the paint over the Pelican bigs. It’s going to be fun to watch.

Game Prediction:

The team that leads at halftime will lose. It’s a pattern.

One final word:

Go Spurs GOOOOOO!!

San Antonio Spurs vs Atlanta Hawks
March 21, 2023 | 7:00 PM CT
Streaming: NBA League Pass
TV: Bally Sports SW SA

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