It was the Tony Parker show in San Antonio as the Spurs got past the Raptors road warriors 112-99 in a game Toronto kept making runs, but ultimately couldn’t get over the hump.
After playing in Oklahoma City on Sunday, the Raptors had the tired team excuse against the rested Spurs, but they didn’t let it show initially as Kyle Lowry opened and closed the scoring in the first quarter, putting up 12 of his team’s 26 points for Toronto’s only leads of the night. Lowry had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists in the game.
Terrence Ross got a lot of run after a poor outing against the Thunder and his shot was falling. Ross had 23 points on 10-16 shooting and played 33 minutes including 8.5 minutes in the fourth quarter. The only knock on Ross was how much easier the Spurs seemed to score while he was in the game.
“(DeMar DeRozan) had a rough night,” Head Coach Dwane Casey said. “They were double-teaming him in post-ups, so they weren’t going to let him go and to Terrence Ross’ credit, he was the guy who stepped up. He was the guy they were double-teaming (off of.)”
Parker had a relatively quiet first quarter with just 4 points and quietly ran up 26 points and 8 assists over the course of the game. The Spurs just play a very businessman-like style. However, it was their uncharacteristic impact on the glass that allowed them to stay in control. The Spurs out rebounded the Raptors 50-40 and had 10 extra shots in this game.
“The difference in the game was our turnovers and defensive glass,” Casey said. “(We gave up) a season high 16 offensive boards. They are 30th in the league in offensive rebounding – that’s mental fatigue.”
Tim Duncan looked old, slow and unsure of his shot as he scored just 9 points on 4-15 shooting and was blocked 3 times, however, he might be the smartest player on the court as he collected 12 rebounds and 4 easy blocked shots and barely seemed to move to get them.
Manu Ginobili came in off the bench to wreck his usual impact on the defense, scoring 18 points on 4-7 shooting and in the fourth quarter Danny Green nailed 4 three-pointers to crush the Raptors hopes of a comeback.
“John Salmons, give him the game ball, offensively and defensively,” Lowry said after the win in Oklahoma City, but Salmons only played 19 minutes against the Spurs and it was Ross who closed out the game. Salmons didn’t score in San Antonio, however, he had 5 rebounds, 2 assists and was a team best +3 while he was in the game. Salmons impact shouldn’t be measured by the points he puts up and the Raptors missed him down the stretch.
This is 3 games in a row that DeMar DeRozan has found defenders in his face all night and the Raptors starting shooting guard was just 5-16 from the field for 13 points.
“We missed some good looks and I think some of it was fatigue, some of it was legs, some of it was their good defense,” Casey said.
The Raptors never gave up and the Spurs never let up. It was a tough loss for Toronto on the second night of a back-to-back against 2 of the Western Conference leaders. The Spurs just took care of business on their home court.
The Raptors play a home-and-home against the Knicks after Christmas, visiting New York on Friday and playing at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
The Spurs entertain the Rockets on Christmas Day and visit Dallas on Boxing Day.
The Raptors remain a half game ahead of the Celtics for first in the Atlantic Division.