The San Antonio Spurs finally have themselves back in consistent winning form, taking 10 out of their last 13 — the struggle was due to having eight new players on their roster for the 2018-19 season.
But now the Spurs risk that streak against the 28-11 Toronto Raptors, a team who risked it all for a Kawhi Leonard-Kyle Lowry duo. As you all know, it’s paid off massively — and now they risk a winning streak of their own, winning three out of their last four.
However, those aren’t even the biggest story lines of the game: Tonight marks the return of Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio, this after a tense fallout between Leonard and the Spurs — expect the boo-birds to be out in full force tonight. We still have no idea what happened between Leonard and San Antonio, but you can expect both sides to be full of intensity tonight — both want this win bad.
And that’s not all: You also have to remember the fallout between DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors. When Toronto made the move to trade DeRozan for Leonard, DeRozan wasn’t happy about it to say the least. He claims he’s not “caught up in the hype“, but we all know he wants this win as well — especially in his new home. That adds even more intensity to this game.
It would have also been interesting as well to see the matchup between former teammates DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, but unfortunately, Lowry is out of the game tonight after getting injections to battle a back injury — no timetable is set as of yet for his return.
With that being said, let’s get to the full injury report for tonight’s game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
CHECK THE NUMBERS
In offensive production, the Raptors have the leverage in this game sitting at 113.1 — a +2 advantage over San Antonio. Toronto shoots at a healthy 47.3 FG%. The Raptors also hold a +2 advantage on the defensive side of the ball as well, holding opponents to 107.5 PA. Another advantage (+1) in rebounding also goes to Toronto — they average 45.4 RPG.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Despite not having an edge in any of the categories, the Spurs still bring in solid numbers thus far this season, and this while struggling earlier in the year. In points-per-game, they average 111.5 PPG — to go along with that, they shoot at a rate of 47.6 FG%. On the defensive end, they’ve allowed 109.2 PPG up until this point. Also solid and comparable to Toronto, they pull down 44.6 RPG.
What this game boils down to most is a sports cliche: Whoever wants it the most, will win the game. As much as I hate cliches, it’s true. Despite neither side feeding into the hype, you know both teams want this win badly — especially Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.
Expect a very intense game with a lot of physicality, and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a fight broke out in this game — it’s going to be PURE entertainment. Both teams are going to give their all, but I expect a little more edge from Leonard to get the Raptors over the Spurs on the road in a straight-up war, and to get the odds-upset. (Plus, they have the slight statistical advantage.)