Game Preview: Raptors vs. Spurs
San Antonio Spurs (30-16) @ Toronto Raptors (30-13)
When: Friday, January 19th, 7:00 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN1/4/5, SN590
Toronto dropped a 101-97 road game to the Spurs on Oct. 23, giving up 20 points to LaMarcus Aldridge and 16 points and 14 rebounds to point guard Dejounte Murray. The Raptors were without Jonas Valanciunas, who missed the game with a sprained ankle, and it showed as they were outrebounded 55-34 in the contest. DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 28 points, but the Raptors couldn't get stops when needed against the Spurs, despite getting within three points in the final seconds. Serge Ibaka added 13 points for the Raptors. Toronto's last home victory against the Spurs was Dec. 9, 2015.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: For Toronto, Fred VanVleet is listed as questionable with a right knee contusion. For the Spurs, Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis), Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion) and Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) are out.
Another All-Star: The NBA announced All-Star starters for All-Star 2018 and DeMar DeRozan will be headed home to Los Angeles for the weekend. This is the second consecutive All-Star start for DeRozan, and the honour makes him the fourth Raptors player to be selected as an NBA All-Star starter multiple times, joining Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and Kyle Lowry.
Listing the numbers: In DeRozan's fourth All-Star worthy season (twice as a starter, twice as a reserve), he is averaging 25.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.7 minutes per game. He's set the franchise record for most 30+ point games, as well as the franchise record for points in a game thanks to a 52-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks on New Years Day that also gave him the NBA record for most points scored on the first day of the calendar year.
Heading out: Friday's game against the Spurs will be Toronto's last at home for a week. Immediately after the game, the team will head to Minnesota where they will face the Timberwolves in a back-to-back on Saturday. From there, they will go to Atlanta for a game on Wednesday, before returning to the ACC floor to take on the Utah Jazz on Friday at 7:30 P.M. ET.
Comforts of home: The Raptors have the second-best NBA home record this season with a 16-3 record at the Air Canada Centre. Only the San Antonio Spurs are better, at 19-2 at home. On their home floor, the Raptors are averaging 114.5 points and 11.5 three-pointers per contest.
Double-double: Jonas Valanciunas had a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double in Toronto's victory against the Detroit Pistons in Wednesday's victory. Valanciunas is averaging 11.3 points, 8.1 rebonds and 0.7 blocks in 21 minutes this season. In nine games in January, he is also shooting 58 percent from the floor and the team is 9-2 this season when he has a double-double.