What easier way to break out of a funk than by going up against a cast of future Hall of Famers?
Start time: 1:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Dominic McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
San Antonio: Tony Parker, Gary Neal, Danny Green, Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair
Toronto: Landry Fields and Alan Anderson remain out of the lineup
San Antonio: Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson are out
- At 10-3, the Spurs have the second-best record in the Western Conference and are tied with Miami for the second-best record overall. San Antonio doesn’t have many let-down games, so while there shouldn’t be any moral victories for the 3-10 Raptors, keeping it close and competitive until the end might just be the goal for most fans. I don’t think anyone in their right mind is expecting a win today.
- I’m really interested in watching the Tony Parker vs. Kyle Lowry matchup, but if Lowry’s ankle isn’t 100 per cent, I fear Parker will shred the Raptors to pieces.
- I’m also interested in seeing if the Raptors can get DeMar DeRozan going again without too much of a drop-off from Andrea Bargnani. I don’t think the team has had a game yet this season where Lowry, DeRozan and Bargnani have all been at their best.
- When the Thunder traded away James Harden, I immediately made the Spurs my Western Conference favourite, and while it’s still incredibly early, I’m feeling pretty good about that prediction right now. The biggest reason for that confidence is that at 36, Tim Duncan appears to have turned back the clock and is playing some of his best basketball in years. The Big Fundamental is averaging 18.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 blocks per game so far this season in just under 31 minutes. Suffice to say, he still has it. His supporting cast isn’t too bad, either.
- One thing I’ve never understood through the years is why so many of my friends and fellow NBA fans see the Spurs as boring or impossible to like. If you ask me, watching Duncan go to work, watching Parker tear defences apart, watching Manu Ginobili surprise unsuspecting defenders with his craftiness and watching the team’s near flawless execution under Gregg Popovich should be sights to behold for any basketball junkie.
- This is one of only two home games for the Raptors over a 12-game stretch, as fresh off the heels of their 0-3 road trip through Philadelphia, Charlotte and Detroit, the Raptors will head for Houston and Memphis after today’s game, and then host the Suns on Friday before a five-game Western road trip that takes them to Denver, Sacramento, Utah, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Portland. So you can see why I saw the 0-3 trip as a near death blow already despite us only being in November.