The San Antonio Spurs (43-8) will face the Toronto Raptors (14-38) tonight in Toronto as the Rodeo Road Trip continues.
The Spurs are coming off a 100-89 win over the Detroit Pistons last night led by Tony Parker with 19 points. This game will be the second of three back-to-back game situations for the Spurs on the Rodeo Road Trip and so far the Spurs are 5-4 on the second game of a back-to-backs this season.
The Raptors are coming off a 92-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks led by Andrea Bargnani with 23 points.
The last time these two teams met, it was a 104-95 win for the Spurs in San Antonio where DeJuan Blair had a 22-point, 11-rebound night; and Tim Duncan posted 10-points, 12-rebounds for the Spurs.
Currently, the Spurs hold an overall 21-9 series lead and are 9-5 in Toronto.
To talk about tonight's contest, I spoke with fellow Bloguin NBA blogger Sean from Hoop Heads North. A must visit site for all things Raptors.
In this Q&A, Sean speaks on his disappointment with the Raptors, keys for the Raptors to beat the Spurs and more.
Jeff: You recently had a lot to say about the Raptors roster being not competitive, "Call me an optimist, but I felt the talent on the Raptors roster was enough to be competitive. It seems that was just a pipe dream, and practically an impossibility now."
Care to elaborate?
Sean: Well, 14 losses in their last 15 games says a lot and most of the final scores were not close. Long and untimely injuries have definitely played a big part in that. The Raptors team is very young and relatively inexperienced, so their level of play has been up and down. Despite Andrea Bargnani being the leading scorer for the team most of the season, I don't believe he is or will be the leader, or 'captain' if you will, for the team. I'm only looking at this from a fan's perspective, certainly not with any 'inside' perspective, but I don't see those type of assertive attributes whether it be in interviews or in his play on the court that a leader needs to have. This Raptors team is definitely a work in progress. I, like all Raptors followers, will be very anxious to see what moves management makes - both financially and with player personnel.
With that being said do you expect the Raptors to make any move with the trade deadline looming?
I recently spoke about this very topic in my last post on HoopHeadsNorth.com. Personally, I don't expect the Raptors to make any deals before the deadline, but if they do, it would be for financial purposes gong into the summer. Focusing on the future and putting a competitive roster together I believe is (and should be) Bryan Colangelo's main objective right now.
Let's talk about tonight's contest. The last time the Spurs and Raptors faced off it was a 104-95 win by San Antonio. In that game DeJuan Blair had 22 points, 11 rebounds while Tim Duncan 10 points, 12 rebounds. Would you say the key for Toronto to get the win is to go at the Spurs' bigs or still focus on the Spurs' guard play of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker?
The Raptors will definitely have to defend the paint much more effectively than they did last time. That may mean Alexis Ajinca & Joey Dorsey see more minutes than usual tonight to help keep Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, and Ed Davis out of foul trouble. Parker and Manu are always dangerous, but the Raptors have the speed and length on the perimeter to make the Spurs guards work for their points.
What is your prediction for tonight's matchup?
I expect the Spurs to win the game tonight, but I'm really hoping the Raptors can tighten things up defensively and play a stronger game on that end of the floor.
I hope the Spurs takes care of business early to win this game and give more playing time to Tiago Splitter.
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