It’s Anfernee Simons’ time to shine.
The Portland Trail Blazers will be without Damian Lillard for at least the next four games while he rests for 10 days before being re-evaluated for an abdomen injury.
That means Simons will likely start in his place as he has twice already this season. The other option would be to start CJ McCollum at point guard, shift Norman Powell (when he returns from a quad contusion) to shooting guard and then start Tony Snell at small forward, which he did Monday and Tuesday night with Powell sidelined.
In the end, however, chances are that Billups will stick with Simons.
He started on Nov. 14 during a 124-95 loss at Denver and finished with 16 points, four assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes while shooting 6 of 11 from the field. Certainly solid, but not spectacular. He made just 1 of 5 threes.
On Tuesday, Simons scored 12 points with five assists and six rebounds during a 110-92 win over Detroit at the Moda Center. He shot just 5 of 14 from the field but after a slow start, scored seven in the second quarter and five in the third quarter while the Blazers were building their lead.
While those numbers were good enough against Detroit (4-17) they probably won’t be against better teams. San Antonio might not be an issue on Thursday night. Defeating Boston on Saturday or the LA Clippers on Monday could require more production of Simons.
The Spurs recently defeated Boston and Washington but that came after they lost six consecutive games.
The Spurs have two good young players in Keldon Johnson (14.9 points per game) and Dejounte Murray (19.2points per game). But they aren’t enough to make this team a playoff contender. At least not yet.
With tougher games ahead, the Blazers can’t afford to allow San Antonio to escape with a victory.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS VS SAN ANTONIO SPURS
What: Trail Blazers (11-11) vs. Spurs (6-13), 7 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Moda Center.
Radio: Rip City Radio (KPOJ 620 AM).
TV channel: Root Sports (in Portland: Comcast 734/34; DirecTV 687).
Watch the game live online: You can watch this game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial). You can also get this game on DirecTV Stream’s “CHOICE” package (promotional offers), if you are out of fuboTV trials, or simply prefer that platform and their pricing plans. If you already have a cable or satellite provider that carries Root Sports and want to watch online, you can watch this game live on Root Sports Live.
Moneyline: POR -175 | SAN +155
Spread: POR – 3.5 | Over/Under: 220
Blazers: G/F Norman Powell (right quad contusion) is questionable; G Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy – injury management) and F Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) are out
Spurs: Doug McDermott (right knee; inflammation) and Devin Vassell (right quad; contusion) are probable; Devontae Cacok (G League – two-way), Zach Collins (left ankle; stress fracture), Joshua Primo (G League – on assignment) and Joe Wieskamp (G League – on assignment) are out.
The Blazers host Boston (12-10) on Saturday then conclude their four-game homestand Monday against the LA Clippers (11-10 entering Wednesday’s game at Sacramento).
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