Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs @ Toronto Raptors

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Spurs venture to Canada to take on the Dinos.

San Antonio Spurs @ Toronto Raptors

Air Canada Centre
Nov.25th , 12:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW,SNET - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The San Antonio Spurs continue their Eastern conference side trip by traveling to Canada to take on the Toronto Raptors. So far our heroes have been playing clutch in their tour of the East. The Spurs are hobbled but that is the nature of the association. CIA Pop and company will have to get creative by necessity. And that spells impending danger for any Spur’s opponent because this team is most dangerous when they have to get creative.

Alright I got something to admit. Before this assignment I didn't know anything about the Toronto Raptors. I have my reasons. They play in the conference that doesn't rhyme with "best" (ha-ha), and they haven’t made the playoffs since the days that Constantinople was a thing. In order to write an informed preview of this game I indoctrinated myself in everything Raptorian. I read their SBNation blog Raptors HQ. I watched Raptors games. I listened to episodes of The Basketball Jones.( ok so I do this anyways, and ok they are not actually a Raptors show but the show is made in Canada and they do talk about the Raps every once in a while so this counts alr.) I even watched the Jurassic Park movies. (The first two are good, the third one is lame. It is a rehashed version of the second one plus Pterosaurs and a Spinosaurus, spellcheck is hating on the Spinosaurus) And now I am proud to say that I have obtained a PHDino.(see what I did there?) So with this self proclaimed and completely illegitimate expertise, I have the ability nay the responsibility to make some observations about tonight’s opponent.

The team’s mascot is a missed opportunity.

"Dino" might be funny and all. But truth be told he looks like Barney’s perverted and alcoholic cousin. Toronto needs to kick that inflatable freeloader to the curb and hire an actual velociraptor. And I know what you are saying: raptors went extinct millions of years ago. And even if they did exist, how would you "hire" a velociraptor? They hardly have the patience to sit down and fill out a job application. Ah science always the Debby downer. I am going to refute that science with science. Geneticists have already cloned an extinct species. (The Pyrenean Ibex, for seven minutes…) So who is to say this is not possible? There is that whole ethical and moral conflict with resurrecting a species that became extinct because of natural causes, but that is so old school. There has to be some mad scientist lurking about in Thunder Bay who would be down with this. And the Raptors should pay said scientist loads of money for exclusive rights to whatever unholy monstrosity results from the experiment. Furthermore the team should only let the public see this dinosaur (which is hopefully caged for the first few games until it is properly trained) during Raptor games. Attendance will jump through the roof. And Toronto’s "actual Raptor" will beat out Phoenix’s stupid gorilla as the world’s most liked NBA mascot. What could possibly go wrong?

The Raptors need to stop drawing random names out of a hat on draft day.

The draft is a dice roll. Hind sight is twenty-twenty. You never know what you have until you got it. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Look twice before you cross the street. (Wait a minute) That being said the Raps whiff it at almost every draft. To be fair the Bargnani pick was not their fault. That draft sucked. Yeah LaMarcus Aldridge was literally chosen right after their pick, and the draft also included Rajon Rondo, and Rudy Gay. But at least the Raps didn’t choose Adam Morrison so there is that. And also Andrea might not be a great player, but he is a good player and could definitely play in the league for a while. So the Raps get a pass on that one. But that is the only pass. Because some of their other picks have been inexcusable. Without further adieu here are the top 3 biggest mistakes made on draft day by the Tornoto Raptors.

3. Jonathan Bender(1999)

Mr. Bender’s selection at number 5 was a kind of turning point for the Raps. They went from being pretty good at the draft (hello Marcus Camby) to being all what the f@#3? Mr. Bender was chosen over Andrei Kirilenko, Ron Artest, Richard Hamilton, John Terry, and cough cough Manu Ginobili.

2. Joey Graham (2005)

Toronto had two lottery picks in the 2005 draft. They skipped over Andrew Bynum to choose Charlie Villanueva.Maybe that was a bad call, but considering Mr. Bynum just broke his knee bowling, maybe not. The head scratcher happened with their next pick. They chose Joey Graham at the 16th spot. Who did the Raps skip over to select Joey Graham? Monta Ellis, Marcin Gortat, Danny Granger and David Lee. You read that right, the Raps had two chances to select Danny Granger and they didn't. Ouch.

1. Rafael Araujo

This pick is the winner for the sheer volume of talented players that the Raps ignored to select Rafael "who is that?" Araujo at number 8. Some of these players are: Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Anderson Varejao, Andre Iguodala, Jameer Nelson, and Trevor Ariza. The law of averages says that one day Toronto’s draft picks will actually be good players, and that their luck will change. For now though the Raps provide good comedy on draft day, comedy for anyone who is not a Raptor fan.

The Raptors need to trade DeMar DeRozan for Tristan Thompson.

The Raptors are considered a small market team. Why? They are the only NBA team in a country that has about 34,000,000 people. This makes them the largest market in the NBA and it is not even close. They need Canadians to be proud of their team, and in order to do that they need a Canadian to play on the team. Does this sound crazy? ESPN’s wretched time waster "trade machine" says that it is crazy. But crazy for the Raps , so that means they could pull this off. Tristan Thompson would be an instant crowd favorite solely because of his nationality. He also (arguably) has a higher ceiling than DeMar. With a dinosaur on the sidelines, and a Canadian playing on the court this team is bound to see a jump in revenue.

The Raptors need to trade Andrea Bargnani for draft picks.

It is time that this team recognizes a lost cause when they see one. Bargnani just chucks shots in the air most nights, whilst getting paid a lot of money. It is time to start over for the Raps. And what better way to do that then to move their captain for a bunch of mid level draft picks? The Toronto brass then needs to resist the urge to get steaming drunk on draft day.

The Raptors are not the Washington Generals.

The Raptors might not be the best of teams this year, but playing them does not automatically mean a one number increase in total wins. They have a randomly assembled group of talented players, who bring hustle to the court. Sure they have lost many times this season. However each of those losses were hard fought, and many of them were down to the wire. This team has the potential to turn around sooner rather than later. And who knows? If they stop drafting guys like Jonathan Bender, they could turn into a playoff team once again.

Final (and only) analysis:

On paper this looks like a win for the Spurs. Paper has several disadvantages though, especially since we live in the digital age and our great grand-kids are going to be all like "what is paper?" So… this game could be a hard one. The Raps are playing at home, and the Spurs are playing without their starting small forward and his replacement. That aside the Spurs are significantly deep, so they can handle this. The Raps might be hungry, so look for this to be a bit scrappy. Though even with Mr. Nasty sitting on the bench, the Spurs have the edge in scrappy.

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Gary Neal
SF: Danny Green
PF: Tim Duncan
C: DeJuan Blair

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Tiago Splitter
Boris Diaw

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Andrea Bargnani
PF: Dominic McGuire
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Key Bench Players
Jose Calderon
Terrence Ross
Linas Kleiza


Head Coach

Dwane Casey

The Raptor's perspective can be found here: Raptors HQ

Game Tickets Here

Game Prediction: Spurs by 3. Vegas says Spurs by 6.

Game Previewers Prediction Records & how many points off per prediction

Joe deLarios 5-0 (-1, 3, 5, 0, 1)

Wes Thorne 3-0 (-1, 0, 23)

Racm 0-3 (-25, -14, -5)

Stijl 0-1 (-12)

CapHill 1-0 (13)

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.

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