After one of their best efforts of the season on Monday, the Spurs reverted to the awful play that we have been seeing for much of the season, as they turned lackluster effort and poor fundamentals into an unlikely loss against an overmatched opponent. The Spurs played with fire, and the Raptors obliged them by burning the Fiesta clad visitors for all but the last 2 minutes of the game. The Spurs found their intensity to outscore the Tampa Bay Canadians 13-5 over the last two minutes, but they were in too big of a hole and lost 112-107. It was a disappointing finish the 5 game road trip as they lost 3 of 5 and slipped below .500 for the season at 26-27.
- Because of Covid travel restrictions the Raptors are playing their games in Tampa this year, I understand why it’s happening, but it’s still weird having a Canadian team in Florida.
- After tonight, there’s just over one month left in the season, but there are 18 games. That’s an insane pace.
- Drew Eubanks plays a very physical game. He knows what he’s in the game to do, and he does it hard.
- Jakob helps off his man a lot in the paint, and it often means that he’s out of position for rebounds and putbacks. I’m not sure whether it’s by design or not, but it ends up giving up a lot of easy baskets to the other team.
- Yuta Watanabe is a guy I haven’t seen much before. He’s really talented. I expect we’ll be seeing much more of him in the future.
- Both teams were shooting 50% of better from three at the half. That’s a crazy stat. Unfortunately, the Spurs cooled off in the second half, while the Raptors stayed hot.
- Missed free throws were very costly in this game. The Spurs missed 8 free throws and lost by 5. Jakob Poeltl didn’t even take one, so he’s not the reason for the poor shooting.
- Maybe I’m biased, but it really kills me to keep seeing touch fouls called at one end of the court and seeing guys like Derrick and DeMar get absolutely rocked going to the basket with no calls on the other end. It’s really consistent, and I’m wondering what is the criteria that the refs are using to make those kind of calls keep happening.
Derrick White started off the scoring in the game with a three point bank off the window. In fact, the Spurs first 12 points were off 3 point plays, with DeMar DeRozan providing the traditional midrange + free throw version. The Raptors kept it pretty close with hot shooting from Anunoby, and the Raptors took the lead on an 11-0 run to lead halfway through the quarter, eventually extending it to a 13-1 run to take a 5 point lead. Patty Mills came into the game and brought the Spurs back into it with 11 quick points and the Spurs led 32-30 at the end of one quarter.
The Spurs focus was missing as the second quarter began, and neither team was playing particularly well. But the Raptors played harder and thanks to holding onto the ball and getting to offensive rebounds led halfway through the quarter. Patty Mills continued to keep the Spurs in the picture by hitting open shots, and the Spurs finally retook the lead late in the quarter on a DeRozan layup, with the Raptors taking the lead back and leading 58-57 at the half.
The third quarter didn’t have a good start for the Spurs, as they let the Raptors take the ball to the hoop and draw fouls for an 8-1 run at the start of the quarter. Both teams played horrible basketball for most of the quarter, and somehow, it balanced out as the Silver and Black fought back to lead the game with Derrick White hitting some three point shots finally. But missed free throws and defensive miscues hurt the Spurs as they trailed 85-82 after three.
The Spurs continued their sluggish play to begin the fourth and even when things went right for them they couldn’t take advantage, as Dejounte Murray got a steal in the backcourt and lost the ball driving to the hoop, for another wasted opportunity. The Raptors pushed their lead to double digits halfway through the final quarter and it was starting to look bad for the Spurs. The Raptors were hitting difficult shots and the Spurs had some open looks but they couldn’t sink enough of them to catch up. The Spurs put on an incredible rally to close the game as the young Raptor players had trouble handling the pressure, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Raptors won 112-107.
This song is dedicated to Jakob Poeltl (for obvious reasons).
What’s Next . . .
For the Raptors’ fans’ perspective, visit Raptors HQ.
The Spurs return home on Friday to play the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:30. That game will be on KENS5, so adjust your dials accordingly.