The moment that we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. For the first time since their blockbuster trade, the San Antonio Spurs will host the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night.
Where do we even begin?
How about starting with former San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard returning to the Alamo City for the first time since his ugly departure in the offseason. Or maybe DeMar DeRozan getting his first opportunity to dish revenge against his previous team after an unceremonious betrayal by the front office. Flying under the radar is the return of a fan favorite in sharpshooter Danny Green, who is playing against the Spurs for the first time in more than eight seasons.
This is a date that’s been scheduled on many calendars over the last six months as two surging teams collide in what’s sure to be an emotional and impassioned matchup.
Date: Thursday, Jan. 3
Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Location: San Antonio, TX
Venue: AT&T Center
TV Info: TNT
Live Stream: FuboTV
As the heart and soul of the San Antonio Spurs over the last two seasons, LaMarcus Aldridge is poised for another big night against Toronto. Over his last four games, Aldridge has been on a tear averaging 30.3 points per game on 58.6 percent shooting from the field. He has elevated his play on the defensive end, averaging 1.3 steals and a block over the course of that time.
Now, Aldridge has a chance to prove in front of the home crowd that he is the cog that keeps the Spurs in overdrive on the offensive end. His hyper-efficient play has enabled head coach Gregg Popovich to run his team around the veteran big man. Now, the Spurs are playing their most efficient basketball of the season.
Coming fresh off of a career-high 22 point outing against Boston, combo guard Derrick White will have the chance to attack an weakened Toronto backcourt with Kyle Lowry sidelined. With Fred VanVleet likely stepping into the starting lineup, White should have a size advantage.
More from Air Alamo
- Spurs show remarkable poise against Bulls, unlike many fans
- Devin Vassell is the latest in the Spurs’ collection of silent assassins
- San Antonio Spurs: 5 Players to avoid in any LaMarcus Aldridge deal
- Is Gregg Popovich hiding Luka Samanic as a secret weapon?
- San Antonio Spurs News: More DeRozan trade talk from Chris Haynes
Of course, facing Kawhi changes everything. Although it’s clear that his focus has shifted more toward scoring than defense as of late, Leonard is still clear and away one of the best perimeter defenders in the history of the sport. Leonard is sure to come out with a chip on his shoulder for his return, especially with the uncertainty regarding his reception. All signs point toward boos coming from the AT&T Center crowd but the fans will simultaneously reminisce about the great times spent with Leonard in the silver and black.
Fans held Kawhi near and dear to their hearts since trading for the young stud in 2011. The lack of clarity surrounding his departure left a bad taste in the mouths of fans, so a win tonight would be huge for San Antonio.
Furthermore, DeRozan has a chance to show his former team that he has a more complete game than ever before. This is the best we’ve seen DeRozan perform with the combination of his scoring, playmaking, rebounding and defensive effort. He’ll surely play with an added fire fueled by his need for redemption.
Ladies and gentleman, we’re in for a great matchup tonight.