Photo Credit: Raptors Twitter
Without three of their top four scorers, the Raptors were able to put together a complete performance on both sides of the ball, defeating the Spurs 117-112 to snap their two-game losing streak.
All five of the Raptors starters, plus Yuta Watanabe off the bench, scored over ten points on the night, led by OG Anunoby with 22 and Pascal Siakam with 20. Toronto received contributions from nearly everyone in their lineup, as Freddie Gillespie and Paul Watson Jr. each had 9 points respectively.
With only 16 games left, the Raptors continue to be one of the hardest teams in the league to figure out. While holding a 5-15 record since the All-Star break, the Raptors are only one game back of the Chicago Bulls for the tenth play-in seed, as a result of the Bulls loss to Orlando tonight.
The two teams went back-and-forth most of the night, with the Raptors holding a slim 58-57 lead at halftime. Three point shooting provided much of the offensive production for the Spurs, as Patty Mills connected from deep five times in the first half and scored 23 off the bench for San Antonio.
Raptor legend DeMar DeRozan had a solid night, recording a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists, while Derrick White scored a game high 25 points and connected on six shots from beyond the arc. The Spurs however did not get enough from their other starters with former Raptor Jakob Poeltl scoring only 4 points on 25% shooting.
Despite a cold third quarter, the Raptors dug in defensively, holding San Antonio to 25 in the 3rd and outscoring the Spurs by two points in the fourth quarter. Toronto was able to excel in the paint tonight, an area where they have struggled with both scoring and rebounding all year. The Raptors had a +12 advantage on both total rebounds and points in the paint.
Much of that production came from newcomer Khem Birch and fellow Canadian Chris Boucher, who continues to improve with increased playing time. Boucher had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Birch scored 14 points in his first start with his new team, tying a career-high. Pascal Siakam also had a double-double, adding 11 rebounds and six assists to his 20 point performance, his sixth game over 20 in the past seven.
Given the absence of Lowry, VanVleet and Trent Jr., the Raptors could not have gotten a better all-around team performance. Sitting at 22-34, tonight’s win keeps Toronto’s playoff hopes alive as they continue to squash the notion of tanking.
The Raptors will look for their second consecutive win on Friday night, when they face the Orlando Magic. Tip-off is set for 7:30PM EST on Sportsnet.