landry fields forever
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 10.02.11
Raps hang in there, but can't beat Spurs
Raptors no match for Spurs’ veteran poise in 111-100 loss
It was a lot closer than most people expected, but that shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
The Raptors fought mightily and gave the visitors a scare through three quarters, but eventually fell to the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs 111-100 at the ACC on Wednesday night.
Future hall of famer Tim Duncan — with new MLB hall of famer Roberto Alomar in the house — led the Spurs with 16 points, seven rebounds five blocks and six assists, while Tony Parker added 18 points and eight assists and DeJuan Blair had a career-best 28 points and 11 rebounds.
Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 29- and 25-point efforts, while Amir Johnson chipped in 12 points and 13 rebounds.
These two franchises could not be much different on paper: While San Antonio, now 44-8, has four titles and a coach and a nucleus that has been in place for years, Toronto has one playoff series win and a revolving cast of characters on and off the court.
But for some reason, the Raptors traditionally have given mighty San Antonio more trouble than one would expect. The Raptors have beaten the Spurs each of the past three years and came back from 20 points down — 19 in the fourth quarter for the team’s biggest final-quarter rally ever — back in 2004 to shock the Spurs at the ACC.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich believes Toronto’s athleticism gives them a leg up against his squad.
“I think they are very athletic and we are not the most athletic team in the world, we have to execute well and depend on everyone on the court, where they have individuals that can do some things that are pretty amazing,” Popovich explained, pointing particularly to DeRozan.
“I guess when they play a team that has a record like ours they are going to be pretty motivated to get after you.”
Last month, the now 14-39 Raptors stayed with the Spurs until the third quarter in Alamo country before falling by nine. They went a frame better on Wednesday, battling until the Spurs turned on the gas in the fourth.
Though guards Tony Parker (5-for-5 with five assists to start the game) and George Hill (18 points on the evening) were eating the Raptors alive, sterling efforts by Johnson, Bargnani and DeRozan kept things tight again.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
“That’s what good teams do,” said Toronto’s Jose Calderon after the Spurs out-scored Toronto 30-16 in the decisive fourth. “They are veterans, it looks like you are with them but at the end of the day, it’s like they turn it on or something.
“It happened (Tuesday) night against Detroit, too. They were fighting the same thing and at the end of the day, in the fourth quarter they just go out there (and make plays).”
And it didn’t matter, really, what the Raptors did, because they are not yet good enough to play the kind of fourth quarter the Spurs put together. They held Toronto to 7-for-21 shooting from the floor while making 14 of 22 shots themselves.
“In the fourth quarter, we knew they were going to crank it up,” said Raptors coach Jay Triano. “They had strategically rested their guys and they came back in the fourth and made it difficult for us to score.”
While the Spurs may have been rested, a thin Raptors roster — that got little or no production from two of the three backups that played extended minutes — was wearing down.
Ed Davis had one of those rookie nights where he couldn’t get anything going, not taking a shot and getting only four rebounds in 17 minutes, while Jerryd Bayless, still bothered by a sore knee, didn’t have a point and played just seven minutes.
Raptors come up short against Spurs
Did you notice that the Spurs are likely to have as many, if not more, wins by the all-star break than a Toronto team has ever won in an entire season?
Spurs leave middling Raptors in their dust
There is nothing sexy about the San Antonio Spurs. That all went away when Eva Longoria put Tony Parker on non-recallable waivers.
But in a league that has spent so much of its time hating the Miami Heat – don’t forget Toronto, your turn is next Wednesday – and seeing the longest-running trade rumour in sports history (Carmelo Anthony to the New jersey Nets) just suddenly die while watching the Cleveland Cavaliers stumble through the worst losing string in NBA history, there is something seductive about the way the Spurs have just quietly put together the fourth-best 52-game record in NBA history, matching that of the 1964-65 Boston Celtics of Bill Russell, Sam Jones and John Havlicek.
Polite applause somehow seems so fitting, which is pretty much how an announced crowd of 15,867 greeted the Spurs at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday night. The Raptors – bless them – were all hustle and intentions until the Spurs dropped the hammer in a six-minute run in the fourth quarter when, with the Raptors switching off, DeJuan Blair (who had a team-high 28 points) took over underneath the basket and Tim Duncan and Parker worked the Spurs’ bread-and-butter inside passing game. When it was all done it was 111-100 Spurs.
Playfully acerbic. If that is not an oxymoron, it is pretty close. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich personifies it.
Before his team beat the Toronto Raptors 111-100 on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre, Popovich verbally sparred with the assembled media. He strongly encouraged a cameraman to turn off a light that was bothering him. He made fun of rookie Gary Neal: “His defence stinks.” And not just because he’s a rookie. “He’s just bad at it.”
His answers were brief.
“After a certain number of years, you get tired of the same old stuff,” Popovich said. “You hate asking it, we hate answering it. ‘Is this game important to you? How important is this?’ I don’t know. We’ll probably get our ass kicked by 25 tonight.”
Not likely. The Spurs moved to a league-best 44-8 with an ultimately inevitable win.