Spurs vs. Raptors recap, reactions: Defense dominates a close game

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19: Dejounte Murray
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19: Dejounte Murray /

The San Antonio Spurs battled the Toronto Raptors on the road. What was the final result?

The San Antonio Spurs couldn’t pull out the win north of the border and lost to the Raptors on Friday night 83-86. This was a game in which both teams struggled mightily to put the ball in the basket. The Spurs would shoot a paltry 34 percent from the field, a hair above their season low of 33 percent vs. Orlando back in October. Toronto would not fare much better, the Raptors shot a slightly better but still underwhelming 40 percent.

Does DeRozan think the Spurs are vulnerable without Kawhi, Manu and Rudy tonight?

"With Pop and the way he orchestrates and puts guys in there, he could put five of y’all out there and coach y’all to some type of victory."

— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) January 19, 2018

Alas, DeMar, if only that were the case. Without Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, or Rudy Gay the Spurs were forced to, as they have for much of the season, rely on LaMarcus Aldridge for scoring. Aldridge would lead the Spurs in scoring again tonight. He managed to put up 17 points, albeit on 6-25 shooting. His performance tonight would also put him in some elite company.

Players with 1,000+ points in each of the last 11 straight seasons:

1. LeBron James2. LaMarcus Aldridge

That’s it, that’s the list.

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 20, 2018

Pau Gasol would also contribute 15 points. San Antonio also received double-digit scoring performances from their trio of guards, Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, and Dejounte Murray.

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This game actually looked like it was going to be a close one for a while. The first quarter was competitive and San Antonio ended the first twelve minutes up 18-17. Then the second quarter happened. It was an ugly, ugly quarter of basketball. San Antonio only made 6 field goal attempts the entire quarter. Even for a team missing several of its best shot creators that is a shockingly low number. The Spurs couldn’t have hit the side of a barn door. They would end the quarter with a 5-minute scoring drought. Meanwhile, the Raptors went on a 9-0 scoring run to close out the half. That little scoring run would end up securing them the game. DeRozan capped off the half with this nifty little buzzer-beating floater.

.@DeMar_DeRozan floats it in at the buzzer! ? pic.twitter.com/MFcVGVEtFu

— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 20, 2018

Gregg Popovich must’ve said something at halftime to invigorate the team because they came out of the locker room with more energy. LaMarcus, in particular, came alive in the third quarter. He would score 12 of his 15 points in the quarter. San Antonio would score 46 points in the second half and close the lead to just three by games end. The Raptors were able to hold off the comeback attempt by putting the ball in the hands of their stars and letting them control the game.

As poor as the offense was in this game, the Spurs solid defense does deserve recognition. They out-blocked the Raptors 7-1 and were able to hold a very good team that has shot 47 percent from the field over the course of the season to 7 percent lower than their average. Toronto is an excellent team and the Spurs should come away from this game focusing on their second-half comeback and trying to replicate that gritty performance over their next few games.

Related Story: San Antonio Spurs: Without Kawhi Leonard, what’s next?

San Antonio next faces Victor Oladipo and the Pacers at home on Sunday, Toronto will travel to Minnesota to face the Wolves tomorrow night.