LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard stole the show, as the San Antonio Spurs held on to beat the Toronto Raptors 102-95.
The victory improves the Spurs to 39-0 at home, as they march towards the immortality of a perfect regular season home schedule.
With the Golden State Warriors recently losing at home to the Boston Celtics, the Spurs remain the only team on pursuit of the historic 41-0 home record.
Despite being without their star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors kept the game close up until the end.
The Spurs looked like the superior team early, climbing to an 8 point lead after a first quarter where they shot the ball much more efficiently than the Raptors. The lead was cushioned by a Danny Green 3 pointer to beat the buzzer. Jonas Valanciunas was the main reason behind the Raptors’ first quarter production, reaching double digit points and contributing more than half of the Raptors’ first quarter point total. Unfortunately for the Raptors, Valanciunas wasn’t much of a factor for the rest of the game.
Aldridge showed why he’s an elite player as he began to assert himself during the 2nd quarter. The Raptors were able to improve their shooting after an uninspiring opening quarter, but the Spurs still extended their lead to 9 at halftime thanks in large part to the offensive contributions of Aldridge and Leonard. The Spurs displayed fantastic ball movement in the first half, as they were able to double their assists compared to the Raptors.
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The Spurs jumped out to a 6-0 run to begin the 3rd quarter, but eventually cooled down in an uneven quarter. The game narrowed to a mere 5 points as the Raptors mounted a strong comeback. Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross delivered off the bench to help propel the Raptors back into the game.
Norman Powell helped lead the Raptors on a late surge, but it wasn’t enough to hand the Spurs their first loss at home.
This victory was carried largely by the efforts of Aldridge and Leonard. Aldridge finished with 31 points and 15 rebounds, while Leonard added 33 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists to help the Spurs improve on an already legendary season.
The Spurs out-rebounded the Raptors 47-32, and made a strong statement that they’re the team to beat in the Western Conference heading into the playoffs.