Spurs hope to stay sharp vs Raptors
The San Antonio Spurs were super sharp in their first action of the year and look to carry the momentum from a solid season-opening road win when they host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday in the Alamo City.
The Spurs are coming off a dominating 131-119 win at Memphis on Wednesday. All five of the Spurs’ starters tallied at least 16 points and seven players in all were in double-figure scoring in the victory, the 20th in the past 22 season-openers for San Antonio.
DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points to lead a balanced offensive attack as San Antonio (1-0) used a 14-0 run in the middle of the second quarter to take charge of the game. The Spurs led by as many as 15 in the period, and Memphis never got closer than seven points over the final 30 minutes.
“Our young guys competed hard, really showed themselves well for the first game we played together,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I don’t think we got back really well the last six, seven minutes of the game. But, fortunately, we were able to continue scoring.”
Dejounte Murray added 21, LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 20 points, Keldon Johnson and Lonnie Walker IV each scored 16, Patty Mills 13, and Rudy Gay 10 points for San Antonio.
“We got a little sloppy toward the end,” Murray said. “But we fought, we played together, and we made it happen, and we came out with a win.”
San Antonio went 25-for-29 from the free throw line, with DeRozan 14-for-15.
The Raptors will try to get on track after a 113-99 loss to New Orleans in Tampa in their season opener. Toronto will play at least 17 games of the campaign with Tampa as its home base because of COVID-19 and the travel restrictions between the United States and Canada.
Pascal Siakam had 20 points for the Raptors (0-1) while Kyle Lowry finished with 18, Norman Powell and Chris Boucher 12 each off the bench, and Aron Baynes 11 points in the loss.
“I thought that there was a long stretch of the game, take the turnovers out of it, where the offense was really cooking good,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “The shots were there and the execution was there, there were some really good ball movement plays and things like that, but we just had too many unforced errors.”
Toronto was outscored 38-22 in the third quarter and 63-42 in the second half, relying too much on the 3-point shot to try to get back in the game. The Raptors missed all 10 long-distance shots they took in the third quarter and were just 14 of 46 from beyond the arc in the game.
“Obviously, we have to knock them down as a team and then we just can’t go through times like that when we don’t make shots and we don’t stop them either,” Siakam said. “So that’s the problem. I think, at the end of the day, those shots are going to be there and we need to take them.”
The two teams split their series last year. The Spurs own a 34-14 all-time edge over Toronto, including a 19-5 mark in games played in San Antonio.
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