Holly MacKenzie – Raptors.com
Toronto Raptors (2-0) @ San Antonio Spurs (2-0)
When: Monday, October 23rd, 8:30 P.M. ET
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio
Broadcast info: TSN2, SN590 The FAN
Toronto dropped a 108-106 decision to the Spurs at Air Canada Centre last January. Despite San Antonio being without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, the Spurs were led by 21 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and 18 from Patty Mills to get the job done. The loss came with the Raptors also being shorthanded as they played without DeMar DeRozan, who missed the game with a sprained ankle. Kyle Lowry led Toronto in the loss with 30 points.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT
Valanciunas status unknown: Jonas Valanciunas left the game after coming down on Dario Saric’s foot late in the second quarter in Saturday’s victory against the 76ers. The team sent out an injury update on Sunday confirming that Valanciunas had a left-ankle sprain, and that he would be traveling with the team on their road trip and listed as day-to-day. His status for Monday’s game against San Antonio is unknown.
Leonard, Parker out: The Spurs officially ruled Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy) and Tony Parker (left quadriceps tendon surgery) out for Monday’s game. Expect Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson to continue starting in their absence.
Getting comfortable on the road: The Raptors are away from Air Canada Centre and will need to learn to get comfortable away from the comforts of home quickly. Monday’s contest against the Spurs kicks off a six-game West Coast swing.
On the bright side: Kicking off the first road trip of the season with two weeks away from home is especially tough. The Raptors are choosing to look on the bright side of things, though. “It’s pretty good to go get it out of the way right now,” Delon Wright said. “Hopefully while other teams are still trying to get their chemistry together, we can sneak some wins in there, too.”
After serving as facilitator in the season opener, DeMar DeRozan was back to his usual scoring tactics in Saturday’s victory, scoring a game-high 30 points on 66 percent shooting in just 27 minutes. Making the feat even more impressive is that DeRozan was listed as a game-time decision in the afternoon because of flu-like symptoms. To quote teammate Jakob Poeltl: “That’s how you know he’s a natural scorer…it just looks effortless.”
A contrast in styles: With the three-point shot becoming more valuable seemingly every minute, the Raptors pledged to incorporate more attempts from deep this season. It took just two games for the team to pass last season’s high in attempts (35) as they attempted 44 threes in a blowout win against the Philadelphia 76ers. While the Raptors were letting it fly from three, San Antonio was in Chicago, earning a win against the Bulls despite shooting just 1-for-12 from beyond the arc.