Wednesday vs. Spurs
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV/radio: CSNCA, 1140
Jason Jones’ take: San Antonio returns after winning the first regular-season game at Golden 1 Center last month.
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Spurs players to watch: San Antonio is led by Kawhi Leonard, who averages 25.6 points and is one of the NBA’s elite defenders. LaMarcus Aldridge is second on the team in scoring and leads the Spurs in rebounding.
Last meeting: Leonard had 30 points, five assists and five steals to help the Spurs beat the Kings 102-94 on Oct. 27 and ruin the Kings’ first regular-season game in their new arena. DeMarcus Cousins led all players with 37 points and 16 rebounds.
Hometown take: From Michael C. Wright, ESPN, “Conversations regarding chemistry typically involve teams working to coalesce offensively. But the San Antonio Spurs learned in a 101-99 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday about the combustibility that accompanies the lack of harmony on defense. “We gave up 63 in the first half and 38 points in the second half,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s what we’ve been doing here at home: play a quarter or two of defense and a quarter or two of no defense. The consistency, in that regard, has not been good.” Neither have the results, as the Spurs have allowed 60 points or more in the first half in back-to-back outings, marking the first time that has happened since April 1997, Popovich’s first season at the helm before the franchise drafted Tim Duncan, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information. For a team that lost only one home game all of last season on the way to a franchise-record 67 victories, the Spurs have now dropped three in a row at home for the first time since Dec. 12-19, 2014.
Friday vs. Clippers
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV/radio: CSNCA, ESPN, 1140
Jason Jones’ take: Los Angeles is the hottest team in the Western Conference.
Clippers players to watch: L.A., which has the league’s best record at 9-1, is led by a solid trio in point guard Chris Paul (19 points, 8.5 assists, 2.7 steals), forward Blake Griffin (20.2 points, 9.8 rebounds) and center DeAndre Jordan (10.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks).
Last meeting: The Clippers have played at Golden 1, but it was a preseason game on Oct. 18 which L.A. won 92-89. In their last regular-season meeting, Paul scored a season-high 40 points to go with 13 assists and eight rebounds in a 117-107 victory on Feb. 26 at Sleep Train Arena. DeMarcus Cousins just missed a triple-double, getting 26 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.
Hometown take: From Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times, “The speed, quickness, athleticism and skill level is what has made Blake Griffin such a unique player at his power forward position. ... On Saturday night against the Timberwolves, the story was all about Griffin’s all-around game putting him in the history books. By scoring 20 points, Griffin now has 9,000 points (in 420 games) over his seven-year NBA career. He became the fastest player to have at least 9,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists since Hall of Famer Larry Bird, who did it in 398 games.”
Compiled by Noel Harris