In a deflating loss, the San Antonio Spurs withered under a volley of second half and overtime threes and ramped up physicality from a Toronto Raptors squad that recovered from a slow start and found a winning shooting touch that undid the home team’s impressive first half. The Spurs made 52% from the field (23 baskets on 14 assists) while building a 22-point lead, but cooled in the final quarters just enough for the Raptors to force the extra period. While the Raptors shaved five points off the big deficit in the third, they combined pressure on the defensive perimeter with white-hot shooting to send the game to overtime.
The Raptors’ trio of Scottie Barnes (30 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals), OG Anunoby (24 points and 7 rebounds) and Dennis Schroder (24 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals) spearheaded a furious second-half comeback in the victory.
Victor Wembanyama (20 points, 9 rebounds, and a career-high 5 blocks), Zach Collins (21 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists), and Johnson (26 points and 6 rebounds) led the team in the absence of Devin Vassell (groin injury).
In an opening half and despite falling behind 2-7, San Antonio (6 for 14) cashed in on more of its outside looks with McDermott, Wembanyama, and Malaki Branham doing the bulk of the damage. The Spurs stunned the Raptors with a 20-5 salvo at the start of the second period to nab what appeared to a commanding lead heading into the break.
- Admiration for Jakob Poeltl. And of course, he swatted away the Spurs’ first shot.
- The “SATX” shorts seem to work better than the tops.
- Bill Land: After a Wembanyama block in early action, blurts out “Vee-Dub!” Will that be the new “oh mama?”
- Keldon’s Kitchen: With teams focusing on shutting off his path to the rim, Johnson’s counters, such as the stepback jumper he uncorked in the first half, will be a good way for secondary scoring for him. His sharp kickout to McDermott later in the half looked spot-on.
- Victor-Ease: On his third block of the game, Wembanyama took what looked like only 1 or 2 steps from the right corner to erase what would have been a sure layup by a cutting Raptor. As Jerry West opined last week, “He can run, he can shoot three-point shots, I think his best skill is going to be blocking shots early in his career. For people that haven’t seen him play, he’s pretty spectacular.”
- Branham is starting to get pretty automatic from the free throw area.
- Instead of subbing in Tre Jones halfway through the third, Jeremy Sochan, Branham, and Johnson were trusted with facilitation yielding some tentative, pensive sequences.
- The teams dented the rim in the opening minutes. Schroder accounted for most of his squad’s early scoring. In a sign of the general sloppiness of play, an awkward Siakam bumbled two fast breaks - one an unforced turnover and the other a charge. Threes by Doug McDermott and Wembanyama allowed San Antonio to go up four after the frame.
- Branham’s elbow pull-up and McDermott’s corner three emboldened the Spurs in the second. An crosscourt kickout (Tim Duncan’s special action from the 2005 finals) from Zach Collins to Wembanyama for a wing three put San Antonio up 20. Toronto failed to put together productive posessions; failing to pass the 30 mark until an OG Anunoby bucket 22+ minutes in. Toronto went down 19 at the half.
- Scottie Barnes’ three jumpstarted the Raptors at the offensive end in the third, while Poeltl also started doing damage in the interior. Wembanyama’s fourth block got my entire family off the couch excitedly. Schroder came alive to keep some pressure on San Antonio and his layup brought Toronto within a dozen. Jones and Cedi Osman quickly answered back and, despite the Raptors improved touch, the Spurs went into the fourth still up 14.
- An overthrown lob from Jones to Wembanyama was rescued by Victor, who re-directed the projectile to Charles Bassey under the rim for a lay-in. A barrage of baskets from Barnes, Anunoby, and Gary Trent, Jr. nudged Toronto within two. Branham’s two vital buckets kept the Raptors at bay. Jones improbably won a tip over Otto Porter, Jr., and Johnson willed home a shotclock beater. A Wemby kickout to Johnson resulted in another shotclock beating bucket, but a stepback three by Barnes tied it at 108. A contentious jumpball between Porter, Jr. and Collins resulted in Siakam shoving Johnson out of bounds. Johnson made both freebies. Anunoby retrieved a squandered rebound and made a floater. Toronto’s buzzer-beater fell short.
- In overtime, Siakam swished a three, while Wembanyama knocked down a turnaround and forced an airball. Poeltl’s putback reverse and Anunoby’s corner three put the Raptors up six. San Antonio forced a shotclock violation, but Wembanyama’s three touched every part of the rim before rolling out.
For the Raptors fan’s perspective, please visit Raptors HQ.
San Antonio takes on Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers in the team’s first SEGABABA of the young season Monday night at 6:00 PM CDT.