Spurs face Raptors' team with just 3 home losses (Jan 19, 2018)
TORONTO -- The teams with the best home records in the NBA meet Friday night when the Toronto Raptors host the San Antonio Spurs at the Air Canada Centre.
The Spurs, who have the league's best home record at 19-2, already have a win over the Raptors, 101-97, on Oct. 23 at the AT&T Center.
The Raptors (30-13) are second in the league at home with a 16-3 mark after defeating the Detroit Pistons 96-91 Wednesday night.
The Spurs (30-16) are coming off a 100-95 win over the Nets at Brooklyn on Wednesday as forward LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 34 points and added eight rebounds.
"It's always LaMarcus Aldridge," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's been an All-Star at both ends of the court. Rebounding, blocking shots, scoring for us, playing more minutes than anybody. The Nets gave him all he could handle. Their physicality was great, their effort. I really love their attack to the basket and their unselfishness was really impressive."
The Spurs will be without Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis), Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion) and Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy) for the game in Toronto. The team announced Wednesday that Leonard is being shut down indefinitely.
"It was one of those things that we got told (Wednesday) morning and we can't do anything about it," Spurs guard Patty Mills said "We can't control it, so this is it. We don't know how long he's going to be out for, but this is our group and we've got to go and get the job done, so it's tough."
"Without Kawhi on the floor, LaMarcus (Aldridge) is our focal point," said Spurs center Pau Gasol, who had 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists on Wednesday. "He's been extremely productive and reliable all year long, so especially when they play smaller lineups, we're going to have to punish them as much as we can inside. LaMarcus is making great plays, so we just need to keep at it."
The Raptors have reserve guard Fred VanVleet (right knee contusion) listed as questionable for the game Friday. He was injured late in the loss Monday to the Philadelphia 76ers and did not play Wednesday.
Reserve guard/forward C.J. Miles played a season-high 26 minutes Wednesday night and led the Raptors with 21 points, which opened things up for other players.
"He really spaces the floor, he allows you, if teams are double teaming, to pick them apart," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We took advantage of that a few times when they had to make the decision whether they were going to take the roll man or the kick out, and gave us two or three, four kick outs."
"It opens up the floor tremendously; especially when (Miles) gets going it's tough to slow him down," said Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored 17 points Wednesday. "So, he's always helping us out, and he was a big part in helping us win (Wednesday)."
"It makes the defense not want to leave (Miles)," said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who had 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists Wednesday. "And when he gets it going like that you just kind of know that they aren't going to leave him as much."
Center Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 16 rebounds Wednesday to record his 11th double-double of the season.
The Raptors survived 21 turnovers, one short of their season high, on Wednesday.
"It was the ugly way," Casey said. "We kind of made things difficult for ourselves, instead of making the easy play. I thought that stretch where we made the big lead, we did do that, we moved the ball. We were passing before the traps got there, and then as the game went on we allowed the traps to get to us before we got rid of it."
The Spurs have won four straight against the Raptors. Toronto last beat San Antonio 97-94 Dec. 9, 2015, at the ACC.