TORONTO,ON–Don’t let the score fool you, this one was much closer than it looked, well at least through three quarters. Playing game two of a back-to-back, the Raptors played the NBA’s best team tough, but in the end, the San Antonio Spurs were too strong. The talent and class of the Spurs team really came through in the final quarter, marked by a 9-2 run that began the fourth, and a 7-0 run with about four and a half minutes left. The Raptors were the better team through the first three quarters, leading 84-81 going into the fourth. Unfortunately for Toronto, San Antonio turned up the heat late, defeating the Raptors 111-100.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Spurs. They picked up their defensive intensity and really shut down the Raptors. The offence also came alive in the final quarter as the Spurs benefited from a balanced attack, led by sophomore DeJuan Blair who scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Tony Parker played with a lot of energy throughout the game and finished with 18 points and 8 assists. The other San Antonio stalwarts Duncan and Ginobli finished with 16 points and 12 points respectively.
The Raps played their hearts out, and you could not tell they were on the second half of a back to back until the fourth quarter. They were once again led by their two best offensive players, Bargnani and Derozan.
Andrea had a great offensive game, and an efficient one at that. Bargs put up 29 points on 13-20 shooting. He was only able to grab two rebounds on the night.
Derozan complimented Bargnani very nicely by adding 25 points while contributing four boards and four assists. More importantly, he was able to get to the free throw line six times, something Derozan has not been doing as of late.
Calderon’s shooting struggles continued, but his experience as the playmaker marshaled the Raptors through much of the game. He finished with six points and 11 assists, while only turning the ball over once; a far better effort than his six assist-six turnover game last night.
Amir Johnson had another productive game, as his string of strong play continues. Amir had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The second unit for the Raptors, not named Barbosa, scored exactly 0 points. This forced Triano to really ride their starting lineup, which might have caused the breakdown at the end. Barbosa scored 20 points off the bench, and was really the only option after the Raps starting five.
Game Notes: Amir Johnson hobbled off the court in the first quarter after landing awkwardly on his ankle. He returned in the second quarter and still displayed great energy and hustle.
Raptors continue their home stand with a Friday night game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Photo Courtesy: NBA.com