The Trail Blazers (8-5) and San Antonio Spurs (7-6) tip-off at noon Pacific Time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with NBA games slated for most of the day.
Monday’s contest at Moda Center against the Spurs is the first of three meetings between Portland and San Antonio this season. The following two matchups are slated for the Second Half of the season.
The Blazers are coming off a 112-106 victory over the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night. Portland won the game, but lost CJ McCollum to a left foot sprain.
Portland will once again look to Damian Lillard as well as its role players to continue to step up collectively with both Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and McCollum out.
The Blazers have also listed rookie CJ Elleby (left foot strain) as questionable, while big man Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) is out for Monday’s game.
As for the Spurs, Keita Bates-Diop (upper respiratory infection), Drew Eubanks (health and safety protocols), Luka Samanic (sore throat), Quinndary Weatherspoon (left knee; surgery) and Derrick White (left second toe; fracture) are all out.
Ahead of Monday's game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes discussed how the Trail Blazers can continue search for a big, but answer could be on their own bench:
After watching Saturday night’s game, it struck me… Why would the Trail Blazers go out and sign another big to their roster?
Last offseason, they had their choice of many of the same free-agent bigs who are available now -- and they chose to sign Harry Giles. And as near as I can tell, from his exhibition game performances and the tiny chances he’s getting during the regular season, Giles is better than any of those available players this team already passed on.
Against the Hawks Saturday, he played just 11:23 and had five rebounds, an assist and made one of the two shots he took. But for someone who hasn’t played much, he still seemed confident, comfortable and, most of all, active and energized.
By now, everyone knows that Coach Terry Stotts is reluctant to use young and inexperienced players for extended minutes. But what I notice is that Giles’ teammates always seem to say good things about him. They praise him for his work ethic and ability. It’s almost as if they are subtly lobbying for him.
After the Atlanta game, Damian Lillard was going down the list of teammates who contributed to the win and made sure he name-checked Giles.
“It was definitely a team effort,” Lillard said. “Everybody contributed, especially down the stretch -- Harry as well, I can't leave Harry out because he was big for us.”
Giles has played in only nine games and averages just a bit over eight minutes on the court. That really isn’t enough to find out what he can contribute in a bigger role.
The point is, there are players on the roster now who might be able to help fill the void created by Jusuf Nurkic’s injury.
But they aren’t getting much of a shot.
When Stotts uses small lineups with Robert Covington at center, it should create some playing time for Nassir Little, almost an unknown soldier on this team. Little has played in just three games for 18 total minutes. I’m not sure if he can help, but I do not think we will ever know that until he gets meaningful minutes on the court.
And for both players, that means minutes where they will not have to worry about being yanked out of the game after one mistake.
Read more here.
The Blazers are +1.5 point underdogs against the Spurs, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about the Portland and San Antonio matchup --
- LAST SEASON: The Trail Blazers won the season series against the Spurs in 2019-20, 2-1. Over the past four seasons, Portland and San Antonio have gone an even 7-7 in 14 contests.
- The Spurs and Trail Blazers are averaging the fewest turnovers in the league this season, at 10.3 and 11.7 respectively.
- Damian Lillard averaged 25.3 points (32.8% FG, 25.0% 3-PT, 96.2% FT), 5.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists in three games against San Antonio last season. Lillard has finished with at least 20 points in each of his last eight games against the Spurs.
- In three games against the Spurs last season, CJ McCollum averaged 26.0 points (47.0% FG, 47.8% 3-PT, 71.4% FT), 4.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. McCollum has handed out at least five assists in each of his last four games against San Antonio.
- LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 21.7 points (45.0% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 87.5% FT), 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks in three games against Portland last season.
- In three games against the Trail Blazers last season, DeMar DeRozan averaged 21.3 points (42.6%, 88.9%) 7.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals. DeRozan's career-highs in both FTM (24, Mar. 4, 2016) and 3PM (six, Feb. 2, 2018) have come against Portland.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +1.5 (-110) – Spurs: -1.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Monday, January 18
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
Start time: 12:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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