After the Toronto Raptors bid adieu to one superstar, there won't be any hoopla with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs visiting the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
The Spurs look to continue their success against the Raptors, who are facing another former NBA MVP.
Toronto (13-9) is in the midst of a five-day stretch with three straight games against MVPs. The Raptors opened that span by giving up 44 points to reigning MVP Stephen Curry in Saturday's 112-109 loss to unbeaten Golden State.
They followed that up two days later with a 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Kobe Bryant's final game at Toronto as he's set to retire at the end of the season. The Air Canada Centre crowd gave Bryant a standing ovation when he left the court for the final time after cheering him throughout the game.
The reception won't be as warm for two-time MVP Duncan and the Spurs (18-4), owners of the NBA's second-best record.
“I think amongst the NBA circle they get the credit. People in the NBA certainly know how good, how consistent, how disciplined that team has been for such a long time,” assistant coach Rex Kalamian said. “I would say that maybe fans appreciate it, but they don't really have the star power so they don't get the attention.
“We've always had problems with San Antonio because of their movement, their consistency and their ability to share the basketball with each other.”
The Spurs have won eight of their last nine meetings with the Raptors but fell 87-82 at Toronto on Feb. 8, ending a four-game winning streak there.
Duncan is averaging 12.3 rebounds over the last three matchups, though he's put up 11.0 points while shooting 29.3 percent from the floor.
Kawhi Leonard picked up the slack in a 117-107 home win March 10, scoring 24 points with 11 rebounds and five steals while hitting 10 for 19 from the field.
An illness forced Leonard to get a day off with Duncan and guard Manu Ginobili on Monday, and San Antonio still hammered Philadelphia 119-68.
While Duncan and Ginobili are expected back, Leonard's status isn't clear.
LaMarcus Aldridge is looking to build on his season-high 26 points and nine boards from Monday. He's averaging 19.3 points over the last six road games and 26.6 in his past eight against the Raptors.
Toronto is 5-4 at home despite averaging 104.7 points. The Raptors have given up 109.0 points per game in those defeats compared to 91.8 in the victories.
Kyle Lowry continues to do his part offensively, averaging 26.6 points over the last seven games after totaling 68 in the past two. He had 32 at San Antonio in March but is averaging 14.3 on 36.6 percent shooting in the last three matchups at home.
Terrence Ross missed 10 of 13 attempts from the floor and totaled seven points against the Spurs last season. However, he is coming off a season-high 22 points while sinking 8 of 12 field goals Monday.
Ross made his first start in place of the injured DeMarre Carroll, who is out indefinitely with a bruised right knee.
“He was great and that is the T we need on a nightly basis,” guard DeMar DeRozan said. “When he does that it makes our job a lot easier.”
- DeMar DeRozan
- DeMarre Carroll
- Kawhi Leonard
- Kyle Lowry
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Manu Ginobili
- San Antonio Spurs
- Stephen Curry
- Terrence Ross
- Tim Duncan
- Toronto Raptors