Spurs 104 Raptors 95
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs did just about everything wrong in the first half.
DeJuan Blair helped correct things after that.
Blair had 22 points and 11 rebounds to help the Spurs rally from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors 104-95 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight victory.
“We had 12 turnovers for 15 points in the first half. We were 0 for 15 on jump shots,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Our defensive coverage was poor, and our mental and physical focus were both poor in the first half.
“In the second half, we got back in the game because we played very, very good defence. People started paying attention and taking some pride in individual and team ’D.”’
Manu Ginobili scored 23 points and Tony Parker added 17 for the Spurs, who improved their NBA-best record to 36-6, their best ever after 42 games.
DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points for the Raptors, who lost their fifth straight and ninth in the last 10 games. He was held to just eight points in the second half against an array of double-teams.
“It was like back in high school. They were sending doubles and everything,” DeRozan said. “It’s just tough. I had a few turnovers that really hurt us and that’s what made it even worse.”
The Spurs surged into the lead midway through the third quarter. Tim Duncan’s turnaround jumper to open the third got the Spurs off to a solid start, starting a 15-4 run to tie it at 57 when Duncan found a cutting Blair for back-to-back running layups.
Blair ran the floor well and used his quickness to get past the Raptors centre Andrea Bargnani, who was a step slow against the second-year forward.
“DeJuan, he was worrying too much about being perfect; about where to be on the court instead of just competing and playing,” Popovich said. “I thought in the third quarter, he just went out and had fun and played basketball. He did a great job for us.”
Two quick baskets by point guard Jose Calderon helped Toronto regain the lead, but it would be short-lived. Blair’s follow shot off Parker’s miss capped a 12-0 run to give San Antonio a 71-65 lead.
The Raptors would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.
“I thought for the first half, take away the 10-0 run to start the game, we battled back and did a really nice job,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “At halftime, we knew they were going to come out. They probably got read the riot act. I don’t know if it was our inability to stop them as much as our inability to score as the game went on. We just had a hard time scoring. We became very one dimensional. DeMar was the only one that could score for us.”
Calderon and Bargnani each finished with 14 points for the Raptors.
The Spurs struggled in the first half, shooting just 35 per cent. DeRozan scored five points during a 9-0 run that gave the Raptors a 49-38 lead with two minutes left in the half.