Yeah, that's right: 131-124. Not the way we're used to the Spurs winning games, and not exactly Pop's favorite way to win. But it was inevitable, and a W is a W. And that was fun, wasn't it?
About an hour before the game, the Spurs sent out word that Tim Duncan would not be playing. At that moment, the fate of tonight's boxscore was sealed. Without Tim Duncan, the Spurs had no chance of guarding Toronto's frontcourt tandem of Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. Luckily, the Raptors play some of the worst defense in the NBA.
So the Spurs had to be extremely aggressive to win this game, and they came out of the gate looking to attack the rim. George Hill got things started in the first half, with some help from Richard Jefferson and Matt Bonner. Yes, Matt Bonner - in case you didn't know, he's wicked awesome. He even embarrassed the Raps by getting to the rim. Repeatedly. One such time, he even ate Toronto's Hoagie:
I'm waiting for a comet to hit after this. Or maybe a Red Rocket.
We also were hitting the boards like crazy. Or at least, some of the Spurs were. Antonio McDyess had his best game as a Spur, with 10 rebounds and 3 assists to go with his 7 points, and he made Chris Bosh's life a lot less easy on the defensive end. RJ had 8 boards, Cubits had 5, and the prime deity of PtR got 8 rebounds, but we'll get to him in a minute. Dejuan Blair had 7 rebounds in a decidely human performance. He'd better be saving the beastliness for the Mavs game on Wednesday. By the end of the game, the Spurs had a 41-29 rebounding advantage, and at half it was 21-13. (We must have been getting outrebounded in prior games because of that selfish bastard Tim Duncan. Who does that guy think he is?)
Anyway, the game went into the half tied at 63, despite the Raptors shooting 63% to our 42%. Yeah, it helps when you rebound the basketball, doesn't it? Only turning the ball over 3 times in each half is also helpful to your cause.
When the second half started, we were just trading baskets with the Raptors, but it soon became obvious that Manu Ginobili was back for this game. Manu was the spark driving the offense, and his 4 blocks made him a force on the defensive end as well. Even though we were down by 2 after the 3rd quarter, there was an unmistakable feeling that with Manu, everything was going to turn out right in the end. The man was possessed, driving past, around, and between defenders, attacking from all angles, and making all the right passes. Oh, and the 3-point shooting was deadly. It was vintage Manu, using every weapon in his arsenal to declaw the Raptors.
Here's your boxscore, courtesy of Hipuks:
Your 3 Stars
Antonio McDyess - No, he didn't fill up the box score like others did. But he was the only thing resembling interior defense. He forced turnovers, rebounded like a madman, and generally made it harder for Bosh to keep his rhythm after a hot start. (Honorable mention to George Hill, who did a hell of a job filling in for Tony tonight.)
Richard Jefferson - 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. This is precisely why the Spurs traded for RJ: another creator on offense when one or more of the Big 3 are out. Somebody on SpursTalk said RJ was a one-dimensional scorer - I think they might want to reconsider that statement.
Manu Ginobili - Did you expect anyone else? 36 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks. There's nothing Manu can't do. I think all the attention being paid to Blair got to Manu, and he had to remind us all who the most unstoppable bench player in the league really is. I think all of PtR is glad to have the Manu Ginobili back.
Damn, that was fun. Now let's put up even more points on Dallas. Or, just winning would be nice.