DeMar DeRozan and Spurs travel to Toronto for tough road test

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 08: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 08, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 08: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 08, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

DeMar DeRozan returns to Toronto for just the second time since he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs as the Silver and Black take on the Toronto Raptors.

After a tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, the San Antonio Spurs will try to bounce back agasint teh Toronto Raptors tonight. Tonight’s game marks just the second time that Spurs star DeMar DeRozan will play against his former team on their home court.

Over the past two weeks, the Spurs have proven that they can go toe to toe with the best teams in the Eastern Conference and come away victorious. Impressive wins agasint the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics showed that San Antonio can hang with the top dogs in the East if they play their game for a solid 48 minutes.

San Antonio’s recent stretch of impressive play has been largely due to the newly modernized game of LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs big man has finally embraced the long ball and he’s opened up the whole offense in a way that was desperately needed.

Aldridge has knocked down an astounding 50 percent of his three-pointers since the beginning of December. It’s not a small sample size either, he’s already surpassed his previous career-high for made triples in a season and it’s only January. Almost overnight he’s become an incredibly dangerous three-point shooter and one of the Spurs’ most reliable options from deep.

The Spurs as a whole have benefitted from LaMarcus’s newfound love of the long ball but no player has taken greater advantage of the wider lanes to the hoop than DeMar DeRozan. He’s been on a tear since December. DeRozan is at his best when he’s attacking the basket and the increased spacing, courtsey of Aldridge, has opened up plenty of opportunities for him to do just that.

DeMar is the first player in Spurs history to record 10 straight games with 20+ points and shooting over 50% from the field! #GoSpursGo

⭐️ ⭐️

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 11, 2020

He’s been one of the most efficient and reliable scorers in the league over the past few weeks and he’s quietly played himself into the All-Star conversation. The Western Conference is filled with dynamic backcourt players and DeRozan has stiff competition in front of him. He’s unlikely to make it into the game based on fan voting but a statement performance against his former team could be just what he needs to help get more notoriety for his recent stretch of impressive play.

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Betting odds and game prediction

The last time the Spurs were on the road against an Eastern Conference team they laid a beatdown on the Boston Celtics. Another performance like that could be in store tonight. San Antonio played the Memphis Grizzlies hard on Friday but got beaten down in several key areas. They’ve done a good job of responding to tough losses throughout the season and that’s a trend that should continue tonight.

The key to this game is the supporting cast for San Antonio. Aldridge and DeRozan can carry the load for stretches of the game but if players like Lonnie Walker, Derrick White, and Dejounte Murray don’t play up to the level that they’re capable of the Spurs will have a very hard time coming away with a win.

The Raptors will be without several key players tonight, which will make things easier for San Antonio. Fred VanVleet will sit out and Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam are both questionable to play at this point. If Gasol and Siakam sit the Spurs chances of coming away with an impressive road win increase dramatically.

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The Spurs are coming off of a tough road loss and are outside of the playoffs, this will be a great test to see if their recent stretch of impressive games against top dogs in the East is a fluke or the real deal.