Friday, February 22 at 7:00 PM ET
The San Antonio Spurs visit the Toronto Raptors in DeMar DeRozan's first game back in Toronto since the Raptors traded him.
Time to move on
All those involved seem to have turned the page, as they got what they wanted. The Spurs were able to move on, trading Leonard for a great player in DeRozan, who's having an incredible season, averaging 21.4 points on 52.4 true shooting percentage, 6.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists on 35.3 minutes over 54 games. The Raptors on the other hand got one of the best two-way players in the NBA and a solid 3-and-D player in Danny Green.
Leonard and Green have gelled incredibly well, fitting right into the offensive and defensive schemes of the Raptors, making big plays and hitting clutch shots. Now they just need to continue their success into the playoffs and help the Raptors make a run to the NBA Finals.
DeRozan already got some payback on the Raptors
The Spurs dominated the Raptors in the first meeting, beating them 125-107 on January 3 in San Antonio, when Kawhi Leonard was booed from start to finish and DeMar DeRozan recorded the first triple-double of his career with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.
The Raptors lacked rhythm right from the start, Kyle Lowry was dealing with a back injury at the time and sat out and Leonard (21 points) was one of seven players that scored in double figures but the Spurs limited the Raptors to just 6-for-30 from 3-point range (20.0 percent), moved the ball better (32 assists against San Antonio's 21) and outscored them 27-17 in fast break points.
The San Antonio Spurs are:
5-0 ATS in their last five games playing on three or more days rest
4-1 ATS in their last five games against Atlantic Division opponents
7-2 ATS in their last nine games against Eastern Conference opponents
25-8 ATS in their last 33 Friday games
9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
The Toronto Raptors are:
3-7 ATS in their last 10 Friday games
2-6 ATS in their last eight games against Southwest Division opponents
2-6 ATS in their last eight games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss
1-4 ATS in their last five home games against a team with a road winning percentage below .400
1-10 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game
0-6 ATS in their last six games playing on three or more days rest
The Raptors are on a six-game winning streak and with Lowry and the team healthy, except for Fred VanVleet, who will miss five weeks after repairing a partial ligament tear in his left thumb, they have to be aggressive as soon as the game starts.
The Spurs on the other hand are struggling, they're 1-4 after five games in their annual eight-game rodeo road trip and the four losses were by an average margin of 20.7 points, including a 39-point beating against the Warriors.
Both teams want to win this game badly so they can start the second half of the season on a high note and DeRozan will do everything he can to prevent the Raptors to extend their winning streak.
Adding Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin just before the All-Star break will help the Raptors over time but they will be figuring out how to play with each other, which benefits the Spurs. I see DeRozan having another big game as the Spurs at least keep this one close.
NBA Pick: Spurs +7.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzsportsON