November 23, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (3) is defended by Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Knight (7) in the fourth quarter at The Palace. Detroit won 91-90. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
The Spurs will win if: They don’t view the game as an easy victory. The Spurs are better on both ends of the floor and the coaching advantage is in their favor. Being the third game in a six-game road trip, the first of a back-to-back and an early game — the quintessential trap game, if you will — we may be subject to diminishing returns for much of the game.
The Spurs will lose if: Toronto minimizes turnovers. They have finished with a turnover on 12.2 percent of their possessions, fourth in the league. The Raptors remain a middling offensive team, however — ranking 18th — which is largely because they don’t shoot well enough on the possessions they do use. The Raptors are 3-5 when they finish with fewer than their average in turnovers (12.9) compared to 0-5 when they exceed 13 turnovers.
X-Factor: Though the difference is negligible in on/off court data, Kyle Lowry has a profound effect on the offense in particular. Toronto scores 4.5 points per 100 possessions more with Lowry on the floor according to NBA.com/Stats.
A strong finisher in the pick-and-roll and an improved shooter from mid-range and beyond the arc — small sample size notwithstanding — Lowry is playing at a career high level in every statistical category. Toronto isn’t defending well with him on the floor but given his reputation as a stingy perimeter defender, it seems realistic that they would improve eventually on that front.