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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Toronto Raptors

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The Raptors held the Spurs to just 82 points in their game last month, an ominous prelude to what became an underwhelming Rodeo Road Trip. They'll face a Spurs team that's had no problems putting the ball in the basket as of late.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Toronto Raptors

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
March 10, 2015, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

Five decisive wins in a row will always instill a bit more confidence in a fanbase, but watching the manner in which they've come has been even more encouraging. The winning streak has been the Taye Diggs to Tony Parker's Angela Bassett, and the groove of the Spurs' most important offensive player is, for the moment, back.

Against the Bulls Tony exhibited the kind of game we've grown used to over the past decade. He got into the lane, pushed the ball in transition and got to his spots with ease en route to a season-high 32 points. Detractors may argue it was yet another game against an inferior defender, but some of the more impressive plays happened against the still-anonymous E'Twaun Moore, whose solid D helped contain Russell Westbrook in the Bulls' win over the Thunder last week.

As relieving as Tony's play has been recently, Kawhi Leonard has been even more impressive. The game has is coming very easily to him, and he's picking off passes on one end as unconsciously as he is pulling up from 18 feet on the other. With the two of them keeping defenses on their toes, San Antonio is very hard to stop, and fans barely notice that Tim Duncan broke his historic streak of games with at least one field goal made, which hadn't happened since the Mesozoic Era, I believe.

Speaking of which, the Raptors come to town Tuesday night. Toronto's struggled mightily (losers of nine out of their last ten) during one of the tougher parts of their schedule, with the team's only win coming against the Sixers. Both Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan have shot terribly in that stretch, and their role players haven't stepped up to make up for it.

Toronto has enough talent to compete every night, but it still doesn't seem sure what to make of its parts. Starting center Jonas Valanciunas still doesn't get regular playing time at the end of games; Terrence Ross has regressed in Year 3, and Derozan is what he is at this point -- an effective, but flawed, offensive player. As a team they're capable of moving the ball well and spacing the floor, but their leading scorers (Lowry and Derozan) average 32% and 22% from deep, and often resort to hero ball.

I don't expect San Antonio to shoot 33% from the field, as they did in their loss in Toronto, and I don't expect the Raptors to play as terribly as they have. A game in the high 90s - low 100s seems probable, and I think the Spurs hold on for a sixth win in a row.

Matchup to watch: Kyle Lowry vs. Tony Parker. Just as Tony Parker's resurgence has buoyed the Spurs, the Raptors' struggles are tied to Lowry's recent poor play. He's been a feast-or-famine kind of player in many games this season (which makes sense, given how often he likes to pull up from 28 feet), but he will also present a gritty defensive challenge for TP.

vs.

Toronto Raptors (38-25)

San Antonio Spurs (39-23)

March 10, 2015

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

7:30 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Kyle Lowry

PG

Tony Parker

Terrence Ross

SG

Danny Green

DeMar Derozan

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Amir Johnson

PF

Tiago Splitter

Jonas Valanciunas

C

Tim Duncan


For the Raptors perspective, please visit Raptors HQ.

Game prediction: Spurs by six.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com