Toronto at San Antonio 11-9-09

November 9, 2009

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The San Antonio Spurs had one of the league’s best road records last season, but they’re off to a woeful start away from AT&T Center and will be without Tony Parker for the next week.  Perhaps a lengthy stretch back home will get coach Gregg Popovich’s team back on track. The Spurs look to avoid their first three-game losing streak since the beginning of last season Monday night when they open a stretch of 10 of 12 at home against the Toronto Raptors

San Antonio (2-3) lost three in a row to open the 2008-09 season – two at home – but their current struggles have come on the road. The Spurs, who were 26-15 on the road last season, have won their two home games by an average of 18.0 points, but are 0-3 away from home.  They were in trouble from the outset in consecutive losses at Utah and Portland last week, falling behind by 10 after one quarter in a 113-99 loss to the Jazz on Thursday, then trailing by 15 after 12 minutes in a 96-84 defeat to the Trail Blazers one night later.

San Antonio outscored Portland the final three quarters, but also played most of the final 36 minutes without Parker. The three-time All-Star sprained his left ankle in the second – the same ankle he hurt nearly a year ago to the day – and expects to miss about a week. Parker said this sprain isn’t as severe as the one that caused him to miss three weeks last season, but the Spurs will certainly miss him considering he averaged 23.0 points and 7.0 assists in two games against the Raptors (3-3) in 2008-09. Each team won on its home floor, with Toronto overcoming 32 points from Ginobili and injuries to Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon to win 91-89 on Feb. 11. Bosh is among the league’s top five scorers through six games, averaging 28.5 points, and he’s also among the NBA’s rebounding leaders with 11.8 per contest. The Raptors, however, have given up 108.2 points per game, and had one of their worst defensive efforts in years their last time out. Toronto allowed Dallas to shoot 62.4 percent Saturday – the best field-goal percentage by an opponent against the Raptors in more than six years – in a 129-101 loss.

For the Raptors to have a chance, though, they’ll need Bosh to play better than he typically has against Tim Duncan. The four-time All-Star has averaged 13.0 points on 35.1 percent shooting in his last four games versus Duncan, while the Spurs’ big man has averaged 20.3 points on 60.0 percent shooting with three blocks. With That said i like San Antonio to win big at home.

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