The Spurs aren’t going to be happy. They just lost to the Celtics, who were playing without KG, but had Paul Pierce step up and drop 35 points against them. The argument can also be made that the Spurs were playing without Tony Parker, which is a good argument, but if you have to weight things out, I think KG is more vital to the success of the Celtics than Parker is the Spurs. Point for discussion, but just not right now.
The Raptors walked into San Antonio and gave the Spurs a pretty decent beat-down back in December and I don’t think they are the type to forget things like that. I know Popovich definitely won’t forget that night and his performance (one of my all-time favourite basketball moments). So what was the success last time around? Well, let’s not forget that a player who seems to have been forgotten on the Raptors roster lately, Jason Kapono, went off for 10 points in the 4th quarter, knocking down shots like a frosh chick with a lineup of melon balls. Another forgotten player, Kris Humphries, had a big night, with 14 points, but more importantly, 11 rebounds.
It will be extremely important for the Raptors to have a strong 3rd quarter in this game. They can’t expect to come out and blow the third quarter again (they shot 5-20 in the third last time around) and escape with a win. If they come out of the half and tank the third quarter, the Spurs will be ready to pounce this time. They aren’t a spectacular shooting club, don’t score a ton of points, but when they smell a victory, the Spurs clamp down and get the job done.
Let’s hope Bargnani keeps his good play of late going. He could be the key, working inside and then establishing the outside threat.
Enjoy the game.