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The Spurs will look to close out and win the season series with the other team from Los Angeles
The Spurs, winners of 2 in a row (on the road, no less, where they are now 9-14 and have Pop tied with Pat Riley for most road wins all-time), head home to the AT&T Center to take on a struggling Los Angeles Clippers team that was one of the surprise stories of the early season, even holding the #1 seed out West for a moment. With a record of 2-1 against them, the last a 122-111 victory in Los Angeles, the Spurs will be looking to lock up the season series.
So, Derrick White has been phenomenal the last 10 games:
Derrick White has now scored 15+ points in 7 of the last 10 games.
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) January 19, 2019
In 9 games this month, White is averaging 15 points a game on 63/48/72 shooting from the field to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. The young man is finally getting the opportunity that we thought he would get after showing out in the Summer League. Finally healthy and in a rhythm, White has helped change the defensive identity of this team, while also contributing much-needed play-making and shot-making on the offensive end. Watch how he attacks Dario Saric on this closeout Friday night:
Creating Off Close Outs 101.
Derrick White pic.twitter.com/TcASfx5gbj
— Eric Salinas (@EricSal_7) January 19, 2019
As much as he’s done, though, the Spurs need more from White. He didn’t take another shot in the game Friday night until the 4:18 mark of the 4th quarter. Going forward, that cannot happen.
DeMar DeRozan missed Friday’s game with an ankle injury that he suffered during the Mavericks game on Wednesday night. Pop has pointed out the amount of minutes that DeRozan has played so far this season as well, saying after Friday’s game in Minnesota:
“He’s been playing a lot of minutes, more than most people,” said Popovich. “It seemed like it was better to have his body recover tonight.”
DeRozan has had a dreadful month of January so far in terms of scoring the ball and ball security, averaging just 16 points a game on just 40% shooting and nearly 4 turnovers a game. More ball-handling from White will hopefully ease the load that DeRozan will have to deal with going forward, but it would be nice to see the Spurs run some plays that spring him open for some wide-open jumpers from his favorite spots on the floor. It feels like everything that they run for him is with the purpose of getting him the ball in positions where he can dribble his man to death and either make a tough shot or find teammates that are open because of the gravity he controls.
The Spurs more or less crushed Los Angeles in their last two meetings, the first one a 38-point shellacking during their 6-game homestand that saw them start to put it all together, followed up by the 11-point win in Los Angeles at the end of December. The two teams have trended in opposite directions since, with San Antonio continuing to work their way up the playoff ladder, while the Clippers have slowly tailed off and slid down the standings.
Losers of 5 in a row, the most recent coming against the Warriors with a seemingly healthy Boogie Cousins, the Clippers will be hungry for a win tonight to right the ship, but may find it hard to find the scoring needed to do that without the services of Danilo Gallinari and (possibly) that of 6th Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams. The Spurs would be wise to not take them lightly tonight, struggles and all.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 10
For the visitor’s perspective, please check out Clips Nation
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.
Source: Pounding The Rock