The Toronto Raptors are heading into San Antonio today to face off against Victor Wembenyama and the Spurs in a rare early game for Toronto. The Spurs are in the middle of a rebuild but they still have plenty of young players for Toronto to worry about. If Toronto isn’t careful this game can and will slip away from them.
You can’t talk about the San Antonio Spurs without talking about rookie sensation Victor Wembenyama and the huge issues he presents on both ends of the floor. Wembenyama is a matchup nightmare for most if not all of the league, but if there’s anyone in Toronto who can give him trouble it’s Scottie Barnes. Scottie has the length and size to bother Wembenyama so hopefully that is the matchup that we see today. You want to see help sent towards Wembenyama of course but as far as primary defense goes it should be Barnes. Siakam should be on Sochan, Schroeder should be on Tre Jones who probably gets the call up into the starting lineup to replace the injured Vassell, Anunoby should be on Johnson, and Poetl should be on Collins. San Antonio does not have a ton of outside shooting so Toronto should be able to help on defense a good amount, but as has been the case throughout this young season, it’s Toronto’s offense that needs to step up.
Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby will have good matchups on them as they will probably put the better defender in Sochan on Siakam and Johnson on Anunoby. Anunoby has quietly had an excellent season in this new Toronto ecosystem and he has looked for his own shot at various points through the season and with Johnson on him he can continue to do so. Wembenyama will probably guard Poetl so he can be in a position to help around the rim so running actions that include getting Wembenyama away from the rim will be very crucial. Sochan is a good defender but Pascal should be able to take advantage of his matchup in one on one situations. The game plan should be simple though, San Antonio is a very young team that should be pretty easy to exploit defensively. This is a team that Toronto may be able to get away with not shooting the three great.
So, three keys, contain Wembenyama by having Scottie’s length and size on him to bother him, have Pascal Siakam help off of Jeremy Sochan who is not a shooter, have OG erase Keldon Johnson offensively, and have Poetl plug any holes at the rim and contain Zach Collins. Tre Jones is no pushover on defense so don’t expect Schroeder to constantly blow by him like he has done to other guards this season, but as far as transition goes he will be very useful as a playmaker.
All things considered, this should be a pretty easy and straightforward win for the Raptors and everyone should go home happy, but anyone who watches this team knows, nothing is a sure thing, this will be an entertaining one either way.
Tip-Off: 3:30 pm EDT | TV: Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet 1 4K
Devin Vassell is out with a groin injury
PG: Tre Jones, Devonte Graham
SG: Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham, Blake Wesley
SF: Keldon Johnson, Doug Mcdermott
PF: Victor Wembenyama, Cedi Osman,Dominick Barlow
C: Zach Collins, Charles Bassey
Christian Koloko is out with an illness. Precious Achiuwa is doubtful with a groin injury
PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn, Markquis Nowell,
SG: O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick, Javon Freeman-Liberty
SF: Scottie Barnes, Jalen McDaniels, Otto Porter Jr, Garrett Temple, Ron Harper Jr.
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young,
C: Jakob Poeltl,
Toronto is favored by 3.5 O/U is 223.5.