The San Antonio Spurs (20-9) will put their eight-game winning streak on the line as they face the Toronto Raptors (9-21) tonight in Canada as the Rodeo Road Trip continues. San Antonio is coming off a 99-95 victory over the Pistons while the Raptors are off a heart-brekaing loss to the Knicks on a late three point shot by Knicks’ Jeremy Lin.
Tonight will be the Spurs and Raptors only meeting of the condensed season. Forward Andrea Bargnani is out due to a strained calf and guard Jerryd Bayless has missed three straight games with a sore ankle and will be a game time decision. For San Antonio, guard T.J. Ford is out due to a hamstring injury.
Tonight’s contest also marks the first time Spurs rookie Cory Joseph will make his way back to Canada as a pro. Joseph is a native of Toronto.
Last season, the Spurs swept the Raptors including a 111-100 loss to the Spurs in Toronto. In that game, DeJuan Blair matched a career high of 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
But as the Spurs get set to face the Raptors, here are five things to watch for in tonight’s game.
- Beware of Jose Calderon. Calderon is playing great at the Air Canada Centre. Over the last five game at the Air Canada Centre, he is averaging 17.8 points, 12.2 assists, and shooting 56% from the field.
- Back-to-back games not kind to Toronto. The Raptors are 2-6 in their second game of a back-to-back set. The team lost last night to New York.
- Raptors can be tamed on the offensive end. The Raptors have been help under 70 points three times this season and have yet to win a game scoring under 70. They are also 6-20 when they score less than 100 points.
- Bring the defense Spurs. The Raptors are 0-9 when held under 40% shooting this season.
- Make sure you are leading at the end of the third quarter Spurs. Toronto is 8-2 when leading after the third quarter.
Matchup to watch. Tony Parker vs. Jose Calderon. Here is how the two fared against one another last season (via nba.com).