Danielle Michaud sits down with Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse to discuss what’s up for his third full season as NBA head coach, they talk about Ibaka and Gasol as Pascal Siakam bounces back can and Fred VanVleet signs again

Not that there’s anything to panic about as the loss wasn’t until the first game of the 2020-21 season, but Toronto looked unusually flat on Wednesday night – especially in the second half

However, after a lovely two-day vacation break, the Raptors will be back trying to make another long streak of holdover 500 when they take on the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet

It’s still the beginning of the season, obviously, but the games are real now and a Saturday night win will mean just as much as it will in April when the playoff implications will become clearer

Ever since the Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard for the Spurs in the summer of 2018, this has been the biggest focal point of the matchup between the two teams every time Toronto v San Antonio, and Saturday will be no different. p>

Although this is his third season with the Spurs, the mark DeRozan left on the Raptors still makes him an Honor Raptor on many people’s minds, and it will always be a little strange to see him versus Toronto line up to see

The worst thing for the Raptors is the fact that DeRozan seems to be getting better from season to season.Although he only scored 35 three-points last season, he was still one of the most efficient players in the league with an average of 221 points at shooting 531 percent off the field, reaching the free-throw line almost seven times per game and continuing the maturation we saw him in Toronto as an excellent playmaker

And this season it looks like it will be the same for DeRozan at the season opener in San Antonio he was on the ball, scoring 28 points on 50 percent shooting, racking up nine rebounds and dropping nine pennies, and what’s even more interesting that DeRozan did this damage when he started Power Forward for San Antonio instead of the traditional wing he’s worked on throughout his career

It’s an interesting experiment that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has tried since the reboot in the bubble – and one that may work for Spurs in the long run – DeRozan will have an obvious advantage over most of the fours in terms of speed and skill He is also strong enough to absorb the inevitable contact that will come from meeting traditional four men

Of course, DeRozan isn’t the only ex-raptor on San Antonio Rudy Gay and Jakob Poeltl are on the Spurs as well, but they obviously don’t have the emotional weight that DeRozan has

If we stick to the theme of DeRozan playing the four here just a bit, that has to be music for Pascal Siakam

Look, despite all of DeRozan’s strengths as an offensive player, he was never known for his defensive skills Should he be the man trying to keep Siakam in check on Saturday, let’s just say it’s going to be a long night for the former Mr. Bird of prey

At the season opener in Toronto, Siakam looked more like the player in front of the bubble than the player in front of the bubble He scored 20 points on 8-of-17, including a 3-on-7 mark from depth while making six assists and bouncing back Confidence in his trips to the basket seemed to be renewed, his outside blow seemed pure , and as the six templates noted, he seemed a smarter and more willing passer-by than before

This was all encouraging news for Raptors Wednesday and is just the opposite if you’re the Spurs

Even if San Antonio doesn’t choose to appoint DeRozan as Siakam’s main defender, it’s not like they have many options to take on the job, the best contestants looking at Spurs’ list seem to be gay or the Attributed to Canadian Trey Lyles, but neither are great options as gay shares defensive flaws similar to DeRozan’s and Lyles may have the length of time to bother Siakam a little He certainly doesn’t have the lateral speed to stay on the edge with the Raptors star

Since we’re still here in the early days, it’s still of interest to keep an eye on how Raptor’s trainer Nick Nurse will manage his rotation

On Wednesday, beyond garbage time, the nurse appeared to be just nine men with starters from Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Siakam and Aron Baynes and four bench pieces used in Norman Powell, Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher go deep and DeAndre ‘Bembry

This group of nine is unlikely to change on Saturday, with the possible exception of Alex Len, who stands in for Boucher

Nurse stated that he was role safety at No. wants 7 and 8 points of his rotation, with Thomas being used as one of the guys there and a center at the other point. Since the more physical Poeltl plays the role of the backup center for San Antonio, it would make more sense to use a player like Len than with Boucher to work but we have to see the nurse play things

And one more note on Toronto’s rotation: Bembry only had about five and a half minutes of play on Wednesday. He had a nice preseason and gives the Raptors an extra defensive blow in the second session He’s a player who looks like he can play with the starters too, the nurse obviously has a challenge in finding minutes for everyone, but the team could probably benefit from more Bembry rather than less

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World News – CA – 3 things to watch out for in the Raptors’ Boxing Day battle against Spurs

Source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/article/3-things-watch-raptors-boxing-day-battle-spurs/