Gameday: Raptors @ Spurs, March 9

The Raptors (34-30, 7th in East) and Spurs (25-40, 12th in West) meet for the second and final time this season. Toronto won the first game in front of no fans at Scotia by 25 in January, which was one of the rare times this season that Nick Nurse has had a full roster at his disposal. Fred VanVleet posted his third straight 30 point game and Justin Champagnie made four (!!) threes off the bench.

This time it’s the Raptors health that is cloudy without OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and possibly Fred again. The Spurs will have all-star and stat sheet stuffer supreme Dejounte Murray (26.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 9.4 apg since the all-star break), who didn’t play in the first meeting. Murray ranks second in the league with 12 triple-doubles, trailing only Nikola Jokic (18). He is also the NBA’s cookie monster, leading the league with 2.1 steals a game. Murray made second team all defense back in his 2018 sophomore campaign and will be on the short list again.

Toronto enters part two of a six game road trip looking to avoid a fourth straight loss. Brooklyn is still two games behind in eighth for what is increasingly looking like a homecourt battle for the 7-8 play-in game. San Antonio is in clear rebuild mode after letting DeMar DeRozan go, however the Spurs only trail New Orleans by two games for the West’s final play-in spot almost by accident. The lower half of the Western Conference is down bad.

Player to Watch

I’m cheating here because the focus is on a coach.

Gregg Popovich is one win away from setting a new NBA standard for regular season success. Pop is currently tied with Don Nelson with 1,335 victories, and they have done it in vastly different ways. Nellie had numerous stops along the way including Milwaukee, Golden State twice, New York briefly and Dallas. Popovich is in his 26th season as the Spurs bench boss and has five championship rings. The 74 year old has one year remaining on his contract and it’s still unknown who will eventually be Pop’s successor when he decides to retire. The Spurs are on a seven game homestand so unless they go on a massive losing streak, Pop will receive a well deserved ovation from the Spurs faithful at some point. Could be tonight.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 8:30pm EST | TV: TSN 4 | Radio: TSN 1050

Toronto Raptors Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

@ CavaliersL104-96
vs MagicL103-97
vs PistonsL108-106
vs NetsW109-108
@ NetsW133-97

Probable Lineup

PF: C. Boucher, T. Young
SF: P. Siakam, Y. Watanabe
C: K. Birch, P, Achiuwa
PG: S. Barnes, D. Banton
SG: G. Trent Jr., S. Mykhailiuk, A. Brooks, I. Bonga


Fred VanVleet, SG – Questionable moreVanVleet (knee) is questionable for Wednesday’s contest against the Spurs.
Malachi Flynn, PGOut moreFlynn will be out at least 10 days due to his left hamstring strain before being re-evaluated by the Raptors, Amy Audibert of Sportsnet reports.
David Johnson, PGOut moreJohnson (knee) is out Sunday against the Cavaliers, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports.
OG Anunoby, SFOut moreAnunoby (finger) is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

San Antonio Spurs Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

vs Lakers W 117-110
@ Hornets L 123-117
vs Kings L 115-112
@ Grizzlies L 118-105
@ Heat L 133-129

Probable Lineup

PF: K. Johnson, Z. Collins, D. Cacok
SF: D. McDermott, J. Wieskamp
C: J. Poeltl, J. Landale
PG: D. Murray, T. Jones
SG: J. Richardson, R. Langford, J. Primo


Romeo Langford, SGOut
Lonnie Walker IV, SG – Probable moreWalker (illness) is probable for Wednesday’s game against the Raptors.
Devin Vassell, SGDay-Probable moreVassell (groin) is probable for Wednesday’s game against the Raptors.
Keita Bates-Diop, SFDoubtful moreBates-Diop (back) is doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Raptors.

Betting Lines

Money Line

My over/under prediction (12-12 this season): 228 is too high with the Raptors current offensive woes and lack of spacing, even if VanVleet plays. San Antonio ranks seventh with 112.8 points per game but are average in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Pop has five more home games in a row to pick up his milestone win after this; the flowers aren’t going anywhere. The Raptors played hard against Cleveland, they just couldn’t buy a bucket for the first three quarters. I have a feeling more shots will fall tonight in one of those tight grinders.

Raptors 109, Spurs 104

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