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Following a bounce-back, yet shaky win over the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto Raptors prepare to play the first game of a back-to-back set tonight at Air Canada Centre. The Raps have a chance to improve their dominant home record to 17-3 with a win.
Just like last week's stretch against the Cavaliers and Warriors did, Toronto's back-to-back against the Spurs and Timberwolves presents an opportunity for the club to prove its worth against other top contending teams.
With Kyle Lowry now back in the fold after recovering from his devastating fall against the Nets, the Raptors are essentially at full strength (minus Fred VanVleet). Lowry has picked up where he left off prior to his injury, serving as an offensive catalyst and spot-up threat for the Raps. His presence alongside DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt makes this Raptors team that much scarier for opponents going forward. Hopefully, both stay healthy going forward, especially in the postseason. The Raptors playoff success depends on it.
San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge will continue serving as the Spurs go-to offensive option, especially with Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely rehabbing his quad injury. Leonard has played in a grand total of nine games this season, yet the Spurs, as always, own an impressive record and are on pace for another 50-win season. Over the past two decades in the NBA, Popovich's Spurs have been a postseason lock every season. No matter who's on the roster, San Antonio is a contender. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Watchability ranking – 8/10
The Spurs have dominated the all-time series versus the Raptors, winning 32 of 43 meetings between the clubs. Over the past three seasons, though, San Antonio's dominance over Toronto has dwindled. Four of the five matchups between the teams over that span have been decided by 10 or fewer points. Given the Spurs are without Leonard, this game is really anyone's for the taking.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM ET. Here are the projected starting lineups: