Respect.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous holiday.

Well the Raptors might not be able enjoy Boxing Day like the rest of us, but something tells me that they don’t mind too much.

Hopefully Raptor Nation basked in the glow of the current 5-game winning streak during this long layoff as there is a serious threat to the longest active winning streak in the Eastern conference.

The Raptors visit San Antonio, the team that just doesn’t go away. Every year the establishment is ready to write them off, but they continue to reside in the realm of NBA contenders.

The biggest reason is the resurgence of one Tim Duncan. While still a quality big man, he was experiencing the inevitable decline that comes with age. However this year his numbers have taken an appreciable bump, pretty much across the board. Looks like losing a few pounds has gone a long way for this future HOFer.

Let’s break down the individual match ups:

Point Guard: Jose Calderon vs. Tony Parker
Advantage: Parker
While it’s tempting to give Jose Calderon the edge due to his current stretch of stellar play, Tony Parker is still Tony Parker. The only chance the Raptors might have of stealing this one is if Calderon looks for his offense. He is one of those rare shooters that you don’t mind firing away from outside, you can’t see him missing too many open looks, even if they are of the undesirable “long two” variety.

Shooting Guard: DeMar DeRozan vs. Danny Green/Manu Ginobili
Advantage: DeRozan
Danny Green can shoot, and when he’s got his three-ball working he does have the potential to have a big night. As long as DeMar doesn’t have to over-rotate too much and closes out well on Green he’ll be OK. Manu Ginobili on the other hand, is still a quality guard who does everything well. Still beats me why he doesn’t play bigger minutes, but if he will be on the court when it matters.

Small Forward: Mikael Pietrus/Alan Anderson vs. Kawhi Leonard
Advantage: Leonard
Sorry, as well as Alan Anderson has played, Kawhi Leonard actually has more of a track record. He definitely has an advantage over Pietrus, but you could say that for every other starting SF in the league. Alan Anderson will have to find a way to continue his hot shooting. His release is actually quite high, which bodes well for him if he can gain some consistency with it.

Power Forward: Ed Davis vs. Tim Duncan
Advantage: Duncan
Yikes. As much as Davis is playing right now, he’ll have trouble playing the now rare breed of skilled post players. Duncan is arguably, even now, the best of that bunch. He will need help, and luckily Amir is great in that regard. This Spurs team, Parker aside, is a little on the slow side, so Davis could have a big night offensively if he flashes to the rim actively.

Center: Amir Johnson vs. Tiago Splitter
Advantage: Johnson
Lost in the Jose Calderon love-in and the rise of Ed Davis is the steady if not spectacular play of Amir. Look no further than the 4th quarter against Detroit, where the Raptors started falling apart after he tweaked his ankle. Only upon his return did they get some important stops to seal the victory. His main impact this game will again be his elite defense, where he might be able to rotate off Splitter to handle guys like Parker at the rim. He’s skilled enough to make teams pay, Splitter, so easier said than done.

Overall Analysis

Winning streaks, as much as they may give teams that little extra boost of confidence, they can provide a letdown when they inevitably come to an end. Even the most optimistic Raptor supporter knows that this will be a tough game to pull out. The good news is that the Raptors do play the Spurs tough. The games are usually close, and this game expects to be no different.

Vegas line: Spurs by 13
A-Dubs line: Spurs by 3

  • Jmramos

    TONIGHT ITS A TOUGH ONE, BUT WE CAN MAKE A GOOD DEFENSE GAME AND A CLOSE FINISH ESCAPE WITH THE VICTORY. WE NEED TO DO A MATURE TEAM.

  • reeko

    The longest active winning streak in the league is the Clippers at 14 games in a row… Perhaps you meant longest active winning streak in the East?

    • J7RapsFan

      I believe that’s what he wrote…

  • Rapsallday

    Even if we lose this one, it’s how we lose that makes a difference… 
    Don’t get blown out, and your confidence will still remain high….
    Just Trade Barney…. Cant believe I’m saying this cause I am a fustrated supporter  but I believe that almost anyone who returns will be of value…

  • KJ-B

    “That’s why they play the games.”  GO RAPS!!!!

    It wasn’t mentioned that Ed lit it up Tim & the SA frontline but was stopped by Casey in the 4th…Nor that DeRozan scored like 25+ against this team for a few games in a row now–So yeah, I like the Raps chances A LOT!

    • FAQ

      Bet you can’t remember the TRaps playing defense against the Spurs… only offense like a ball-googling t.h.f..

  • Aaron

    I know it’s off topic, but figured I’d throw it out there (deadline is approaching):

    Trade: Bargnani, Calderon for Evans, Salmons, Hayes
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bq7qec3

    Raptors rotation:
    PG: Lowry, Lucas
    SG: Derozan, Ross (6th man), Salmons
    SF: Evans (SF is where he belongs), Anderson/Pietrus
    PF: Davis, Johnson, Kleiza
    C: Valanciunas, Johnson Hayes/Gray (depending match-ups)

    Toronto:
    Pros:
    1, very promising young core with deep playoff potential down the road
    2, Evans gets a fresh start
    3, Hayes immediately become Pops Mensah-Bonsu-popular in Toronto
    4, fill in the gap at small forward with potential all-star talent
    Cons:
    1, lack of basketball IQ on the court
    2, could be an overly selfish team
    3, lack of leadership on the team (basically, the three most important traits that Jose brings)

    Sacramento:
    Pros:
    1,
    Bargnani-Cousins duo could be good with AB playing second fiddle and
    benefiting from Cousins’ double-teams ala Bosh-Bargnani (Cousins is a
    rebounding beast and will be better than Chris Bosh)
    2, Sacramento desperately needs Jose’s leadership skills (but, admittedly, so might we)
    3, Sacramento desperately needs Jose’s passing skills (but, again, so might we)
    4, Jose could help shape Isiah Thomas into an excellent young PG for the future
    5, Bargnani gets a fresh start (as a clear second or third option) in a small media market with less scrutiny and less #1-pick pressure
    Cons:
    1, the Barganani-Cousins duo could also be a complete disaster (more likely?)
    2, Sacramento’s defense becomes all-time bad
    3, Sacramento already has a glut of power-forwards and Bargnani could hinder Robinson’s development

    Overall,
    I think this trade could potentially benefit both teams equally, albeit
    with definite risk. Although I’m sure I’m missing some important
    points.
     

    • FAQ

      Please… stop masturbating in public…!

      • Guest

        Shut up FAQ.

    • NyAlesund

       I can see the Kings with three PG!!!!!! They are so many discussion about Thomas and Brooks (Cousins made public his prefereces fro Thomas) and you really thing that GM Petrie wants to mess Smart’s job up? I don’t think so.

      In addition we add Salmons SF and Hayes another PF. For what? Evans is not a PG and not a SF. Hence, we get rid of Bargs for players like these that not giving us significative improvements.

  • The Fox

    Lets not forget Dwane Casey VS Greg Popovich.  Especially in late game scenarios, Pop has some pretty brilliant plays under his sleeve.  The Tim Duncan 3 against Phoenix comes to mind.  In this case I’d give that edge to Popovich.

  • ibleedpurple

    Terrence Ross is the xfactor in this game. The Spurs are coming off a record 20 3s made win against Dallas. Hopefully they’ll have cooled off over the holiday break. In any case this new Raptors team defends, plays hard and gives the fans something to cheer about! Win or lose I believe the raps have turned the corner and will begin winning more often than not as long as the Pastamaker is out.

  • FAQ

    Will our boys play like Raptors or like Turkeys (ancient raptor remnants) ??!!!

    They played Orlando last Friday and now it’s play day Wednesday.  I hope Casey didn’t let our warriors just celebrate the festivities with no grinding practices… or else they will be like turkey stuffing playing the Spurs today.  Hopefully the veteran Spurs will play like mashed potatoes and slip in their gravy.

    Here’s hoping for a big surprise in SA….

  • Ppellico

    so…ya…good old Amir and his new big game.

    is it just me? Or has the new NBA player just become the 4th qtr player?
    Just allow everybody to do what they want and stay the F#$@ out of foul trouble!!
    @c52118cdb2134c449152440527a8da54:disqus 
    Welcome to the NEW NBA GAME! 149 to 138 final score!!!
    All good fun!
    Just keep the offense going and allow the fans the joy of seeing baskets!

    I hate this new game.

    Norm Van Leer…I feel your pain and hope you stop turning in your grave!

  • Jamshid

    When is Lowry back ? 

  • Jamshid

    “if not spectacular play of Amir”
    LOOOOOL, Take an average of the last 5 games and you can see Amir’s game is nothing even close to spectacular for a player who is making 6.5 to 7 million a year.

  • RaptorFan

    This is a game where Amir and Ed should be playing 40 mins. I dont understand why dwane casey continues to play kleiza when his shots are not falling and he`s not rebounding! Check the minute distribution…..Jose , Demar, ED, Amir need to play 40 mins….Ross at least 25-30 mins

    SMH

    Kleiza has a problem with showing up the officials = No calls