A video tribute for Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard started off a night that didn’t slow down and lived up to everything hyped all week leading up to this game. With the win, DeMar DeRozan got his first career triple-double (21 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists), and LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 23 points. Leonard finished with 21 points while Green struggled from the field, going scoreless.
In an electrifying atmosphere fit for Wrestlemania, the Spurs jumped on the Raptors early with a scorching 65% shooting. Their offense mainly consisted of penetrating the paint and kicking the ball out or barrelling in for a dunk. The Spurs looked crisp while the Raptors were active but sloppy with several turnovers.
The Raptors managed to klaw their way back to within 16 off of a few Spurs turnovers after being down as much as 26 early in the game. Being up 16 at halftime was the Spurs’ reward for their fiery energy against the team with the best record in the NBA.
The Spurs continued to stay aggressive and came out in the second half looking to blow out the Raptors. The starters, in particular, kept pushing the pace and pounding the ball inside while swarming all over on defense. Leonard started out playing a little tight against the backdrop of cascading boos but loosened up as the game wore on.
An emotional night eased towards the end when Coach Popovich emptied the bench with less than 5 minutes to go in the game. Tonight the good guys win their first game of 2019 against a talented Raptors team also missing Kyle Lowry.
- This game definitely felt like a playoff game. The decibel at the AT&T Center usually doesn’t get this loud unless it’s June.
- It’s weird seeing Green and Leonard guard Spurs players.
- DeMar DeRozan can score in infinite ways, and his weapon of choice tonight was a steady diet of floaters in the lane.
- Derrick White is gaining more confidence in his three-point shot and it’s starting to show. He made 2 out of 3 attempts tonight.
- Lonnie Walker the Eye Vee made his NBA debut tonight!
- Kawhi Leonard plays with Danny Green, who played with LeBron James, who plays for the Lakers, who Jack Nicholson cheers for, who himself was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon—and that’s how you six degrees Kawhi Leonard to Kevin Bacon.
Tune In Next Time:
San Antonio stays in town to take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 7:30 PM CDT.