Matchup: Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs
Records: Raptors (28-11); Spurs (21-17)
Where to Watch
Date: Thursday, Jan. 3
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: SN1 / SNO
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
This is a matchup the Raptors and Spurs have likely had circled since the day the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade went down.
MORE: The most anticipated games in Toronto Raptors' history
After spending his first nine seasons with the Raptors, DeRozan was blindsided by a trade following the best season in franchise history. The Spurs sent Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a draft pick, and the rest is history.
Leonard and Green spent seven and eight seasons respectively in San Antonio, winning the NBA championship in 2014. Tonight will be their homecoming of sorts, though they will likely be received differently.
As for DeRozan, it'll be his first time reunited with a handful of long-time teammates and potentially his best friend Kyle Lowry if Lowry is able to play through back soreness - he is currently listed as questionable.
DeRozan touched on the first meeting with his old team and some of the emotions he might be going through: "I've never experienced an emotional game ... I don't feel like it's going to be an emotional game you know, but that's right now… it's probably a question you could ask me after the game."
DeRozan also mentioned he has not talked to Raptors' president Masai Ujiri because he "has no reason to." He then compared his split up with Toronto to not getting the "opportunity to marry the women that you thought was the woman of your dreams."
The trade has gone well for both sides thus far.
Leonard is averaging career-highs in scoring and rebounding while leading the Raptors to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. DeRozan is around the same scoring number as a season ago but he has showcased his playmaking abilities in San Antonio, averaging a career-best 6.3 assists per game to go with a career-high in rebounds as well.
Green has been the kicker in pushing the trade in Toronto's favor, adding a two-way veteran who has already knocked down two game-winning shots this season to one of the best teams in the league.
This contest has all the hype and storylines you could ever ask for in an NBA game.
• The Spurs have won 10 of their last 13 games
• Leonard is coming off of a career-high 45 points in the Raptors' win over the Jazz
• Lowry is listed as questionable for tonight's contest - he and Leonard have not shared the floor since Dec. 3 (14 games ago)
• The Raptors are 1-4 in their last five road games, the Spurs are 4-1 in their last five home games
• LaMarcus Aldridge has scored 30-plus points in each of the Spurs' last two games.
Last Time They Played
Date: Jan. 19, 2018
Score: Raptors 86, Spurs 83
Raptors: Kyle Lowry - 24 points, three assists, three rebounds
Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge - 17 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks