Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors – Game #55

The San Antonio Spurs will try to avoid losing their tenth straight game tonight against the Toronto Raptors. This will be the second game of the Rodeo Road Trip for the Spurs. To tip off the trip, San Antonio collapsed in the fourth quarter in a loss against the Chicago Bulls (see the Grades) to drop their record on the season to 14-40.

The Raptors enter the contest with a record of 25-30. Toronto entered this season with high hopes but they have work to do to make the playoffs. Currently, they’re tied with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference for the 10th seed. 

This will be the Raptors first home game following a seven-game road trip. Toronto finished the trip with a record of 4-3. Their last game was an impressive 106-103 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tonight will be the final matchup between the Spurs and the Raptors this season. Back on Nov. 2, the Raptors demolished the Spurs in San Antonio by a final score of 143-100. 

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The injury bug is making it really difficult for the Spurs right now. Devin Vassell remains out following arthroscopic knee surgery. Joining him on the sidelines will be Tre Jones and Jeremy Sochan. Both starters will be missing their third straight game. Romeo Langford, who was starting in place of Vassell, is also out of commission.

To make matters even worse, Spurs leading scorer Keldon Johnson is questionable due to left ankle soreness. He was questionable prior to the Bulls game but he was able to play. 

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Head coach Gregg Popovich will start Jakob Poeltl at center. The rest of the starting lineup isn’t as clear. That said, expect Malaki Branham to start at point guard, Josh Richardson to start at shooting guard and Keita Bates-Diop to start at power forward. If Keldon Johnson is able to play, he’ll start at small forward.

If Johnson misses the game, the most likely players to start in his place are Stanley Johnson and Isaiah Roby.

Jakob Poeltl Showcase

As SpursTalk has reported, the Raptors remain one of the most interested teams in trading for Spurs starting center Jakob Poeltl. The seven-footer out of Austria began his career with the Raptors before coming to San Antonio in the Kawhi Leonard trade. Now, Toronto is trying to get him back. The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

On the season, Poeltl is averaging 12.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 blocks in 26.0 minutes per game. The 27-year-old is shooting 62.3% from the field and 59.2% from the free throw line. 

Betting Guide: Spurs at Raptors

The Raptors are favored by 11 points and the over/under is 232.5 points. While the Raptors haven’t lived up to expectations this season, they’re catching the Spurs in a vulnerable state. San Antonio is dealing with a multitude of injuries — key injuries, at that. Add in the fact that the Raptors beat the Spurs earlier in the season by 43 points and the smart money is betting on the Raptors to cover.