Sure, sure, the Spurs have the best record in the NBA right now. But the Raptors actually played them pretty tough on January 19 when Toronto took an 11-point lead into the second half. Of course, then Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reamed out his players, doubled up on DeMar DeRozan (who had been killing the Spurs in the first half) and worked in some zone defence. San Antonio won that game 104-95 and they’ve gone 7-2 since then even though seven of those games were on the road.
The Spurs are midway through their epic nine-game “rodeo road trip”, which is an extended trip they have to embark on every February during the period that the AT&T Center is occupied by the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. On the official website, they display the slogan “More than an 8 second ride.” Coincidentally, that was the slogan I posted over my bed in my university dorm. HEY-OHHHH!
Toronto: Leandro Barbosa, Jerryd Bayless and Alexis Ajinca have all been cleared to play tonight.
San Antonio: Matt Bonner is probable with a bone bruise in his right knee, and the Spurs’ five starters have each played in all 51 games this season. You see how luck plays a certain part in team success in this sport?
1. Did you know that if the Spurs win all five remaining games on their road trip (including tonight’s game), they’ll tie their own NBA record set in 2003 for the longest road trip winning streak?
2. Should Andrea Bargnani lay off the three-pointers for a while? He’s made just four of his last 29 shots from that range.
3. Do you think Trey Johnson could be a suitable, cheap replacement for Sonny Weems as a backup guard once Sonny becomes a free agent after this season?
4. Where would you rank Gregg Popovich among all-time NBA coaches if he wins his fifth championship coaching the Spurs this season? Phil Jackson is the only coach with a better winning percentage than him among guys who have coached at least 1,000 games.
5. Is it a given that Bronson Pinchot will play the lead role in the eventual Manu Ginobili biopic?
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Liveblog: James Borbath on theScore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
San Antonio: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair
In tribute to San Antonio Spur Matt Bonner’s impression of Napoleon Dynamite in this video, our pregame song is the one Napoleon danced to at the end of the movie — “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai.