No amount of off-court controversy or untimely injuries have been able to impede the San Antonio Spurs on their four-game homestand. Their brand of team-first basketball has helped them surprise playoff contenders on a near-nightly basis, and the good guys will look to keep chugging along as they host the Toronto Raptors at the AT&T Center.
This game is the first meeting between these interconference adversaries this season, and it presents the Silver and Black with a chance to prove to the rest of the league their early success hasn’t been a fluke. Entering the evening shorthanded will make this a tough matchup, but Gregg Popovich always has his troops ready to compete for 48 minutes.
San Antonio Spurs (5-2) vs. Toronto Raptors (4-3)
November 2, 2022 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Keldon Johnson (Out — Calf), Isaiah Roby (Out — Illness), Devin Vassell (Out — Knee), Blake Wesley (Out — MCL)
Raptors Injuries: Justin Champagnie (Out — On Assignment), Ron Harper Jr. (Out — Two Way), Otto Porter Jr. (Probable — Personal), Fred VanVleet (Questionable — Back)
What To Watch For
- There is a legitimate possibility that Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell could sit out against the Raptors, which is terrible news for San Antonio. That tandem has combined for 43.7 points per game, approximately 37% of their nightly scoring production. The Silver and Black have thrived on the offensive end behind generous passing, constant movement, and a whirlwind pace. Gregg Popovich will presumably stick to his game plan regardless of personnel, though the on-court product is bound to suffer without either of their fulcrums. While Vassell and Keldon are far from the greatest advantage creators with the ball in their hands, their gravity as three-point shooters and ability to get buckets on limited dribbles makes life easier for their teammates.
- Pascal Siakam has made another leap towards superstardom, performing like a top-ten player through seven games this season. The seventh-year combo forward has added another dynamic to his arsenal every summer, and his nightly numbers have reflected his astounding development. Siakam has averaged 26.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists for Toronto, which are career highs across the board, and done so while shooting an efficient 47% from the field. With the statuses of Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, and Isaiah Roby up in the air, Doug McDermott and Keita Bates-Diop may be the first line of defense against the All-Star slasher. Even if the Spurs contain Siakam, they still have to worry about his explosive supporting cast of Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and Gary Trent Jr.
- Could tonight be the first time Spurs fans witness Dominick Barlow and Charles Bassey with the big league club? The two-way contract signees have been preparing for the upcoming G League season with the Austin affiliate, and their recent call-up is probably just an insurance policy. With that said, a depleted depth chart might convince Gregg Popovich to give the youngsters some garbage time minutes if this game gets out of hand for either side. Jakob Poeltl, Zach Collins, and Gorgui Dieng have secured their first, second, and third-string roles, but sitting courtside and soaking in every ounce of advice could be an exceptional learning experience for Barlow and Bassey.
- Here are a couple of interesting philosophical similarities and differences between the Spurs and Raptors that Pounders might find interesting. Both teams are taking more than 34 threes per game and making them above a 38% clip, and these cross-conference competitors could deliver the AT&T Center audience a delightful long-distance shootout. Despite their shared fondness of the trifecta, they diverge drastically in pacing, with Toronto ranking 28th and San Antonio placing third in that department. The latter has also logged the sixth-most passes per game (306.6), while the former has recorded the ninth-fewest (276.6). Nick Nurse relies on his All-Stars to manufacture most of their offense, Gregg Popovich leans on a spread-the-wealth approach, and each head coach is a masterful tactician in his own right.
For the Raptors fans’ perspective, please visit Raptors HQ.
The Game Thread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.