Coming off a disappointing loss, the San Antonio Spurs (20-24) will look to rebound this afternoon against the Toronto Raptors (31-14). The Spurs are a home underdog in this one as the defending NBA champions have won their last six games.
The last time the Raptors lost? It was in Toronto two weeks ago against the Spurs. In San Antonio’s 105-104 victory, DeMar DeRozan led the way with 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals against his former team.
Raptors Winning After Return to Health
Toronto’s 31-14 record is impressive considering how many injuries they’ve had to withstand. Now that they’re healthy, the Raptors are playing very good basketball.
Against the Spurs, expect the Raptors to start a lineup of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. Their bench unit will be powered by Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell.
The Spurs will counter with a starting five of Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, Trey Lyles and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Spurs Rise to the Occasion
The Spurs have been able to raise their level of play against the better teams in the NBA. Against teams above .500, the Spurs are 4-1 in their last five games, with victories over the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Raptors. Their lone loss was a 107-102 defeat in Miami.
Conversely, in their last five games against teams below .500, the Spurs are 2-3, with losses against the Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies.
Defense Still an Issue for the Spurs
Since the calendar flipped to 2020, the Spurs have been the seventh best offensive team in the league, scoring 114.8 points per 100 possessions. Unfortunately, San Antonio’s defense has lagged behind. They are the 22nd best defensive team in the league in 2020, allowing 113.9 points per 100 possessions.
The coaching staff has been using a lot more zone defense recently — but it obviously hasn’t helped much overall. The truth of the matter is the Spurs can’t get much better at defense as long as they continue to start multiple poor defenders like Forbes and DeRozan.
Prediction: Spurs vs. Raptors
Oddsmakers have the Spurs as 3.5-point underdogs and predict a final score of 112-109. While the Raptors are playing very well now that they’re healthy, I see the Spurs being able to bounce back from the loss versus the Suns. San Antonio plays very well against the better teams, which will hopefully continue this afternoon.
San Antonio Spurs – 118
Toronto Raptors – 114