Jesse Schule | Dec 26, 2012 | ARCHIVE

This is a FREE play on the Toronto Raptors.

Just two weeks ago, the Raptors had only four wins over the first six weeks of the season, since then they have won five straight. Injuries to two of their best players haven't seemed to slow them down, in fact, since Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani went down, the Raptors have been a much better team.

Jose Calderon has done an excellent job filling in at the point, he's averaged 14.2 points and 10.7 assists over his last six games. DeMar DeRozan has also stepped up his game, he's the Raptors leading scorer, averaging 18 points per game this year. He has been very successful in previous games against the Spurs, averaging 27.8 points in his last four games versus San Antonio.

The Raptors pushed the Spurs to the brink the last time these two teams faced each other, losing a thriller in double overtime by a score of 111-106 in San Antonio. DeRozan scored 29 points in that game, while starting center Jonas Valunciunas also chipped in with a career high 22 points. Valunciunas will not be available in this Boxing Day matchup, he's sidelined with a broken finger.

While the Raptors are banged up, they do have a history of playing well against the Spurs. San Antonio has only covered the points in three of the previous 10 head to head meetings between these teams. Today's spread is far higher than it was in any of those previous games.

It might not be that easy for the Spurs to get up for a game against the Raptors on the day after Christmas, and we could see a sluggish performance from the Spurs. If they do come out and build a big lead, it would not be surprising to see Popovich rest his aging stars in the second half.

The line opened with the Spurs as a 14 point favorite, but has since been bet down to 13 at most books. The Raptors have not lost any of their previous 10 meetings with the Spurs by more than 11 points.

With history on their side, going up against a Spurs team that doesn't really have anything to prove, with a coach that isn't shy about resting his veterans, I like the Raptors getting over a dozen points.


Jesse Schule