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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Spurs look to bounce back against Portland at home.

San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images

After a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, the San Antonio Spurs will look to get back on track with another matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. San Antonio split a double-header with the Blazers earlier this month, playing one game with Victor Wembanyama, and another without him. Wembanyama torched the Blazers for 30 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 blocks in the last matchup.

San Antonio will be tasked with stopping the Blazers veterans, who gave them problems in prior matchups. Jerami Grant, Malcolm Brogdon, Scoot Henderson and DeAndre Ayton are all threats to score. The Spurs will need to be clicking defensively to secure a win at home.

San Antonio Spurs (8-36) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (13-31)

January 26, 2024 | 8:30 PM CT

Watch: NBA TV | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Charles Bassey – Out (left knee,) Sidy Cissoko – Out (G League,) David Duke Jr. – Out (G League,) Mamadi Diakite – Questionable (G League,) Dominick Barlow – Questionable (G League,) Tre Jones – Questionable (left ankle)

Hornets Injuries: Malcolm Brogdon – Questionable (right knee,) Moses Brown – Out (left wrist,) Shaedon Sharpe – Out (lower abdominal,) Robert Williams III – Out (right knee)

What to watch for

Three-point shooting

The Spurs are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA. They are hitting just 34.4% of their deep shots (29th in the NBA,) and converting on just 31.6% of their open threes. Even worse, they are making just 36.9% of their “wide open” threes. Deep shooting was one of their weaknesses in the loss to Oklahoma City in which they shot 28.1% from deep.

The Blazers are one of the best teams at defending the three-point line. They allow opponents to shoot just 34.8% from deep (5th in the NBA.) San Antonio will need to take advantage of the open shots they do have. Shooters like Julian Champagnie, Doug McDermott and Devin Vassell getting hot could open the offense for drivers to get inside.

Bench output

The bench had a rough game against the Thunder on Wednesday. Keldon Johnson, Malaki Branham and Zach Collins all struggled to keep up with OKC. If Tre Jones comes back, moving Blake Wesley back to the bench should help with the defensive intensity of the second unit. Johnson has historically played well against Portland, dropping 29 points in his last matchup. This is an opportunity for the bench to bounce back.

Wembanyama’s streak

In his last six games, Wembanyama has scored more than 24 points in each game. He’s averaging 24.7 points a game in January. The Spurs are running offense for him, and he’s capitalized by being assertive inside. Portland had no answers for the big man in their last matchup. Wembanyama could have another big game on Friday night.