Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors

San Antonio Spurs @ Toronto Raptors

Air Canada Centre
February 15, 2012, 6:00 pm Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: WOAI 1200 AM

The Spurs are rolling into Canada playing good basketball (except for that 4th quarter in Mo-Town) just in time to get a SEGABABA trap game. The Raptors are not too good. They are 28th in the NBA in Offensive Rating and 18th in the league in Defensive Rating, according to basketball-reference.com. Which of course makes this a perfect trap game. A bad team at home getting the Spurs on the back end of a back to back, what could possibly go wrong?

I'll admit it, I'm not even sure who the Raptors have on their roster. Canada's pride and joy has been irrelevant for so long that people in Toronto are starting to root for baseball season. I'm kidding, they want their Maple Leafs to win at all cost and would give up ever being relevant in basketball to lift Lord Stanley's Cup. Let's get real, the NBA in Toronto is really just so American's living there can watch some live basketball 81 times a year, or 33 times in this year's case. I feel bad for Canada, I really do. Think about it, they've had Vince Cater, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh all in their prime and they all left. Basketball should be fun and you shouldn't lose every single good player you ever get just because you're America's hat.

Bustedtees

What? You thought I was joking? As you can see, it's true.

All kidding aside, this is a game that the Spurs should be able to handle with ease. The Velociraptors (which is what I believe they should be called) did give the Lakers a much closer game than the Hollywoodites would have liked a few days ago, but they got punked by the New York Lins Knicks last night (I actually wrote that before the game, no really, I did). Really, as much as I would like to claim this is trap game, Toronto being on a back end of a SEGABABA more or less nullifies that excuse. Granted, they played at home and our Spurs will be getting deported from Detroit, but that's still not a good excuse.

Let's get to some keys to victory:

  1. Score more points than the other team - I've never gotten why this isn't always the #1 Key.
  2. Bench play - Let's hope our boys off the bench can give the starters plenty of rest.
  3. Don't give them easy chances - Nothing gets a struggling team going like easy baskets.
  4. Keep Calderon, Barbosa and DeRozan in check - Nobody else can score
  5. Don't hang out in Detroit too long - I know they're "back", but commercials can be deceiving.

Come on, I had to get in my yearly shot at the Motor City and I didn't want to upset our friends over at DBB on Valentines. Anyway, having checked out the Velociraptors roster for the first time there are several names I recognize. Barbosa is a old familier foe, DeRozen has been on some highlights I've seen, Kleiza was once the tallish white guy that played with the Thuggets, Butler was once considered by some to be Bruce Bowen's replacement for our Spurs, oh, and Bayless tore the Spurs up at some time in the past (plus he spells his first name weird). That's plenty of guys that have at some point been a pain in the side of Spursdom. Let's hope that collectively they are as good as their record indicates.

On to your song of the of the day:


To the lineups, I must admit that I'm not confident that either lineup is particularly accurate. Manu may or may not start and Toronto is without Bargnani.

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: Tim Duncan
C: DeJuan Blair

Key Bench Players
Gary Neal
Tiago Splitter
Kawhi Leonard

Lineups

Starters
PG: Jose Calderon
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Rasual Butler
PF: Ed Davis
C: Amir Johnson

Key Bench Players
Leandro Barbosa
James Johnson
Linas Kleiza

NBA Stats Cube Lineup Comparison Here. Velociraptors perspective can be found here: Raptors HQ

Game Prediction: Spurs win it in another close one for Toronto to break the hearts of those valant few Velociraptor fans paying attention.

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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