Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Toronto Raptors – Game #8

Coming off arguably their best win of the season, a 107-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (see the Grades), the San Antonio Spurs return to action tonight to take on the Toronto Raptors in the AT&T Center. The Spurs, 5-2, will be gunning for their third straight win.

The Raptors enter the contest with a record of 4-3. Their last game was unquestionably their most impressive outing of the season. Against Dejounte Murray and the Atlanta Hawks, the Raptors posted a dominant 139-109 victory. Toronto was led by Pascal Siakam’s 31 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

If the Spurs win tonight, it’d likely be their most improbable victory of the season. That’s because of how many key players the Spurs will have on the sidelines.

In addition to Devin Vassell missing his fourth straight game with a sore knee, Keldon Johnson will miss his first game of the season due to tightness in his right calf. Johnson has been the best player on the team this season. Through seven games, he’s averaging 23.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.3 steals, while hitting 45.5% of his shots from the floor including 43.5% of his three-pointers.

Joining Vassell and Johnson on the sidelines will be Blake Wesley and Isaiah Roby. Wesley suffered a knee injury last game and is expected to miss around two months of action. Roby will miss his second straight game due to an unspecified illness.

Thankfully, there is good news on the injury front. Josh Richardson, who missed the last game due to lower back tightness, will return to action. Jeremy Sochan also returns following a one-game absence due to an illness. 

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

With Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson out, San Antonio’s starting lineup will look completely different. Three players are very likely to be in the starting five: Jakob Poeltl at center, Tre Jones at point guard and Jeremy Sochan at power forward.

Who will start for the Spurs at shooting guard and small forward? The most likely answer is Josh Richardson starting at shooting guard and Romeo Langford starting at small forward. Langford started the last game and played well, while Richardson has started two games this season due to Vassell being out.

If those five players are in the starting lineup, the bench unit will likely be Zach Collins at center, Keita Bates-Diop at power forward, Doug McDermott at small forward and rookie Malaki Branham at shooting guard. Expect the backup point guard minutes to be split between Richardson, Langford and possibly Branham. 

Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Raptors

The Raptors are favored tonight by 7.5 points, while the over/under is set at 224 points. The Spurs have been playing really well but without Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, things could go south really quickly for San Antonio. 

The smartest bet tonight is to take the under on the 224-point over/under. The Spurs offense is likely to struggle. On the other hand, San Antonio’s defense might be up for the challenge.