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San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors Game Preview and Prediction

The inter-conference foes will meet at the Scotiabank Arena on Friday when the San Antonio Spurs take on the Toronto Raptors in DeMar DeRozan’s return to Toronto for the first time since his trade last summer. San Antonio is playing their sixth consecutive game on the road, while the Raptors are looking for the seventh straight victory and fourth in a row in front of their own crowd. San Antonio has been a better side in the recent H2H duels as they won five of the last six meetings including the opening game of the season’s series when they beat Toronto 125-107 at home and the Raptors will be looking to get revenge here.

NBA: Friday, February 22, 2019, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, 7:00 PM ET

 

San Antonio Spurs are hoping to sweep the series with a win in Canada

San Antonio went on from a five-game winning streak to a four-game losing run but they managed to avoid the fifth defeat in a row with a road victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs improved to the 33-26 and are currently sitting in the 7th position in the Western Conference with eight wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors and with a couple of losses more than their Southwest Division rivals Houston Rockets. The Spurs have a good chance to reach the playoffs as they are ahead of the No.9 team in the West, the Sacramento Kings but they must improve the away record in order to do that.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs in a 108-107 win over the Grizzlies with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds along with game-high three steals; Patty Mills chipped in with 22 points off the bench, Davis Bertans added 17, Rudy Gay posted a double-double of 15 points and game-high 12 boards with game-high eight assists, while DeMar DeRozan finished the tilt with 12 points, six rebounds, and five dimes. San Antonio didn’t open the game well as they lost the opening quarter by 13 points but scored even 74 points in the following two quarters. Although Memphis switched to a higher gear in the last 12 minutes, Aldridge scored the Spurs’ last seven points to help the team in snapping the four-game losing streak.

LaMarcus Aldridge (illness) is probable vs. the Raptors on Friday, while Derrick White (right heel soreness) is also probable after missing the previous four games.

The Spurs have the 13th offense in the NBA that averages 112.3 points per contest, while their defense is 16th in the league as it allows 111.4 points per game. San Antonio’s rebounding is below average as they are recording 44.1 boards per game (23rd), while they are better when it comes to assists per contest with 24.7 dishes a night (14th). San Antonio is 3rd in field goal percentage as they have 47.9 percent from the floor and 1st from downtown with 40.9 percentage, while they are 21st in the NBA with 10.2 three-pointers made per game.

Toronto Raptors got their sixth consecutive win after defeating the Wizards

Toronto responded from a loss to the Eastern Conference contenders and biggest rivals at the moment, the Milwaukee Bucks, with six straight victories including the latest one over the Washington Wizards at home. The Raptors improved to the 43-16 record and are in the 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with the same number of wins as the Milwaukee Bucks but with a pair of losses more and six wins ahead of the Atlantic Division rivals Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors will surely find their place in the playoffs and it’s highly probable they will end the regular season in top four but whether they will finish at the top of the conference remains to be seen.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors in a 129-120 win over the Wizards with a double-double of career-high 44 points (15-25 FG, 4-5 3PT, 10-12 FT) and ten rebounds, along with game-high three blocks;  OG Anunoby chipped in with 22 points and five boards off the bench, Kyle Lowry posted a double-double of 14 points and game-high 13 assists with four boards, and game-high three thefts, while Serge Ibaka recorded a double-double of ten points and game-high 13 rebounds and added six dishes and a pair of rejections. Toronto trailed at halftime by six points but exploded in the third quarter and scored even 44 points, allowing 28 in return and then successfully managed to maintain a comfortable lead in the final 12 minutes.

Fred VanVleet will undergo surgery for ligament damage in his left thumb and miss approximately four weeks, so the Raptors will have to turn to Danny Green, Norman Powell, and newly-added Jeremy Lin for some help at the point guard position.

The Raptors have the top 10 offense in the NBA that averages 114.3 points per contest (6th), while their defense is also in top 10 in the league as it allows 108.7 points per game (10th). Toronto’s rebounding is average as they are recording 45.2 boards per game (14th), while they are 15th when it comes to assists per contest with 24.7 dishes a night. Toronto is 10th in field goal percentage as they have 47.0 percent from the floor and 22nd from downtown with 34.6 percentage, while they are 13th in the NBA with 11.5 three-pointers made per game.

Trends:

San Antonio:

  • 25-8 ATS in their last 33 games played on Friday
  • 7-2 ATS in their last nine vs. Eastern Conference rivals
  • 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. NBA Atlantic rivals
  • 5-0 ATS in their last five games playing on three or more days rest

Toronto:

  • 3-7 ATS in their last ten games played on Friday
  • 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. NBA Southwest rivals
  • 2-6 ATS in their last eight after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
  • 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss

The Winner Prediction

San Antonio won seven out of the previous ten H2H encounters including five of the last six, while the Raptors were victorious in three of the past four meetings at the Scotiabank Arena. Even though the home team is 7-3 ATS in the last ten duels, the Spurs are 5-0 ATS in the previous five meetings and I am backing the Raptors to get revenge for the defeat in the previous clash with San Antonio but I don’t think they will cover the -7.5 spread. The Spurs are not playing well enough on the road and have the 11-19 record and they will likely suffer the 20th away loss of the season but I expect to see a tight affair on Friday.

The Pick: San Antonio Spurs +7.5 (-110)

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