Toronto (23-10) at San Antonio (27-7)
When: Tuesday, January 3rd 2017
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: Sportsnet One, FSN Southwest
The Toronto Raptors wrap up their six game road trip with a visit to San Antonio on Tuesday night to take on the 27-7 Spurs. Toronto started the trip with back-to-back wins over Utah and Portland, but then fell to Golden State and Phoenix before starting 2017 with a 123-114 victory at the Los Angeles Lakers. Tuesday’s contest presents another chance for the Raptors to prove they belong among the elite teams in the NBA after going 0-5 against the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Toronto was in danger of suffering a third straight defeat on Sunday before Kyle Lowry stepped up and delivered 20 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter and finished 12-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Lowry averaged 24.4 points on 54 percent shooting – 50.4 from beyond the arc – in December, which is showing much improvement after a slow start to the season. Backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan started off the new year strong as well, pouring in 31 points on Sunday after failing to reach 30 in the final five games in December. Power forward Patrick Patterson (knee) sat out Sunday and is day-to-day. Toronto still sits 3.5 games up on Boston in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
The Spurs are coming off a rare road loss, but have followed-up each of their last four losses with winning streaks of four or more. San Antonio fell 114-112 in overtime at Atlanta on Sunday but got Kawhi Leonard (illness) back from a two-game absence and let him work his way back into game shape. The star small forward admitted to being “weary” from all the medication he took while fighting the illness and was limited to 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting in 28 minutes. Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge was held to just eight points on 2-of-3 shooting in a win Friday over the Portland Trail Blazers, but he bounced back with 27 points on 12-of-17 from the field in Sunday’s loss. Aldridge has hit 39 of his last 52 shots over the last four games. Point guard Tony Parker is averaging 18.3 points in the last four games after putting up 8.6 in his previous nine. The Spurs will play six of their next eight games at home and are 1.5 games clear of Houston in the Southwest Division.
Toronto has to be worn out as they near the end of the road trip. They have not fared well against the elite teams and San Antonio always seem to bounce back strong after a loss. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Spurs -5.5