Raptors-Spurs Preview

BY foxsports • April 2, 2016

The San Antonio Spurs may be flying slightly under the radar but they're now the only team that can complete an unbeaten home schedule.

The Spurs put their 47-game regular-season home win streak on the line Saturday night when they meet the only opponent they have yet to beat this season in the Toronto Raptors.

Golden State's amazing pursuit of a record 73 wins has become the NBA's biggest story. That chase stalled with Friday's shocking 109-106 loss to Boston that snapped its 54-game regular-season home win streak and was the Warriors' first defeat in Oakland.

It left San Antonio (63-12) as the only team still perfect at home after moving to 38-0 with its 100-92 win over New Orleans on Wednesday. The Spurs, who can notch a franchise-best 64th win, topped the record 37-0 start by the Chicago Bulls during their 72-victory season in 1995-96.

They are very close to getting to 41-0, but insist that's not important.

"Going undefeated at home is a great accomplishment, it's kind of crazy to think about it, didn't expect it but if we get it, it's not something that's in our minds of focusing on staying perfect," guard Danny Green said. "We're going to take it a game at a time, get better, stay crisp and get ready for the playoffs."

Long known as one of the league's best defensive teams under coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs allow 96 points per 100 possessions and an average of 92.6 points to lead the NBA in those departments.

No opponent shot the ball better versus that defense than Toronto did in connecting at 57.8 percent in a 97-94 win Dec. 9. The Raptors (51-24) attempted 64 shots for the second-lowest mark in an NBA game this season, committing 21 turnovers.

DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and Kyle Lowry added 19, totaling 16 points off 15 drives. They were big reasons why the Raptors averaged 1.54 points per possession on drives compared to the Spurs' 1.09 mark.

"They're very good, obviously with the two-man duo they got going there and obviously some great players around them," Green said. "But DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, they're playing at a very high level, they've won 50 games this season, which is big for them."

Another factor in that contest was the solid play by reserve guard Cory Joseph, who will visit San Antonio for the first time after spending his first four NBA seasons with the Spurs. The Raptors ran 26 ball screens with Joseph, averaging 1.14 points per possession on those situations for a higher mark than the 21 ball screens they used with DeRozan and 20 with Lowry.

It's always unclear if Popovich will rest anyone, with veteran forward David West sitting out the last two games.

Toronto has dropped 12 of its last 13 at San Antonio as it seeks a seventh straight victory in the second half of a back-to-back set. The Raptors are 8-3 when playing on the road in such a scenario.

DeRozan scored 27 and Lowry added 22 in Friday's 99-95 victory at Memphis. The Raptors hung tough down the stretch and never gave up the lead after Terrence Ross' 3-pointer made it 87-84 with 5:06 left.

''That's what we've been trying to do for the past three or four years - develop a winning culture and learning habits," coach Dwane Casey said. ''I think that we are getting there, and we are taking the steps in the right direction."