Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

TAMPA, Fla. — OG Anunoby scored 22 points, Pascal Siakam had 20 points and 11 rebounds and the short-handed Toronto Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs 117-112 on Wednesday night.

The Raptors had to go big because they were almost out of guards, and it worked in their favour. Anunoby moved down to the two-guard spot, and the Raptors got good production from newcomers Khem Birch and Eddie Gillespie at the big positions.

Birch had 14 points and six rebounds in his first start for Toronto, which enjoyed a 54-42 rebound advantage.

“It was a good showing for them,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “Their presence on the glass made a difference. They were active and they were forces. They eliminated some of the offensive rebounds that have been hurting us.”

Gillespie contributed nine points, eight assists and three blocks in 19 minutes.

“Every coach made it clear that they wanted rim protection, and that’s what I’m trying to give them,” said Gillespie, who is playing on a 10-day contract.

Rookie guard Malachi Flynn had a big fourth quarter for the Raptors, scoring eight of his 16 points in the period and finishing with seven assists.

Derrick White led San Antonio with 25 points, Patty Mills added 23 and Demar DeRozan kept the Spurs in the game with some fourth-quarter scoring, but they lost the inside game.

“We didn’t have the physical stature we needed to have,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “We gave up a lot of second-chance points and missed a lot of free throws. Considering all that, I thought we did a good job of staying in the game.”

Anunoby scored nine points in the early minutes of the second half, helping Toronto move ahead by nine — the largest lead for either team until late in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs answered with a 13-3 run that was capped by a pair of 3-pointers by White to regain the lead.

But Toronto pulled ahead late in the game when Flynn set up Birch for a dunk with a lead pass, then hit a 3-pointer and a turnaround jumper for a 110-97 lead with 3:24 left.

“I feel like playing with this team, I’m kind of breaking out of a box,” said Birch, who signed with the Raptors last week after playing two seasons with Orlando, the Raptors’ next opponent.

“Not to be disrespectful, but I always knew I could do this type of stuff, but I think I can do more,” Birch said. “I feel like I’m gaining confidence right now.”

Paul Watson, playing for the first time since March 24 after missing 10 games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocol, hit two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter for Toronto.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Mills led all scorers with 17 points in the first half despite playing only 14 minutes. … Having completed a five-game road trip, the Spurs will play 10 of their next 14 on the road.

Raptors: G Fred VanVleet served a one-game suspension for his part in an on-court altercation in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 6, indicating that VanVleet is off the injured list. He missed six games with a left hip flexor. … G Kyle Lowry (rest), G Gary Trent (ankle) and F DeAndre Bembry (hamstring) did not play.

UP NEXT

Spurs: at home against Portland on Friday night.

Raptors: Play against Orlando in Tampa on Friday night.

___

More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBAand https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Dick Scanlon, The Associated Press

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