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Josh Primo shines in front of his hometown crowd as Spurs fall to Raptors

The young Spurs could not keep up with the Raptors

Toronto Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs with crowd restrictions of 1000 people allowed in the building because of surging COVID-19 cases in Ontario Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Maybe it was missing three key players, maybe it was the mostly empty arena, or maybe it was too much poutine and Tim Hortons coffee for the good guys. Whatever the case, while the Spurs lost their fourth straight game, rookie Josh Primo filled in admirably playing his first significant NBA minutes.

Jakob Poeltl also notched a double-double with a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds while Devin Vassell poured in 15 points in his second straight start.

Josh Primo looks like he belongs. And as others have mentioned numerous times, he does not shy away from the moment, which is a trait you cannot simply teach. While the barely 19-year-old has a ways to go before becoming a star that Spurs fans hope he can be, these extra minutes will go toward fulfilling that hope.

Josh Primo and Joe Wieskamp, the class of 2021, repped the Spurs rookie class with this nice drive and dish for the three-point play. Between Josh and Joe, suddenly the Spurs are replete with Js: Jakob Poeltl, Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, Jock Landale, Dejounte Murray, and Lonnie Walker the IV—I mean Lonnie Walker the J-Smoove IV.

Derrick White threw a kitchen sink at the Raptors’ defense and landed a tough shot. White has played big minutes with Dejounte Murrray out, but the Spurs will need him to continue to lead with or without Murray in the lineup.

Josh Primo and Jock Landale ran this break to perfection as Landale punctuated Primo’s perfect pass with a lovely lay-in.

Jakob Poeltl showing his former team how big people finish. As always, Poeltl anchored the defense down low for the Spurs and provided most of the Spurs’ offense. That might not be ideal, but if Poeltl keeps taking the ball from the arc to the hoop like this, we’ll make it ideal.

This dizzying ball movement: the way the camera angle and slow-motion captures the beautiful game would go perfectly with some classical music to show the fluidity of the Spurs offense—at least for one play.

The only thing more impressive than Primo’s arc was Jones’s touch pass that set up the three-point make. The young guns made the most of their opportunities and showed they can scratch the surface of consistent excellent play, even if the lack of a primary scorer and another big seems to make up most of their glaring needs.

Jakob Poeltl made this scoop pass to a backdoor-cutting Devin Vassell look easy. Poeltl is averaging 2.8 assists per game this season, but has managed almost 4 dimes a game over the last four games. While not known for his playmaking abilities, it’s certainly a bonus if Poeltl can continue to set up teammates for easy buckets from the high post.

And last but never least, the full-game highlights:

Next up, the Spurs immediately head to Boston to take on the Celtics on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.