Shorthanded Spurs Edge Raptors For Fifth Win In A Row

TORONTO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points, Patty Mills added 18 off the bench and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Toronto Raptors 108-106 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.

Without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, the Spurs completed a season sweep of the Raptors following a 110-82 home victory earlier this month.

Kyle Lowry had 30 points and reserve Terrence Ross added 21 for the Raptors, who have lost four in a row for the first time since March 4-10, 2015.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw eight lead changes — after just two in the preceding 36 minutes — the Spurs finally took control on a floating jump shot from rookie Dejounte Murray with 1:29 to play.

Ross shot an airball on a 3-pointer on the Raptors’ next possession, and after four consecutive scoreless possessions between the teams, Aldridge had a chance to establish a four-point lead with 11.3 seconds left on a pair of free throws, but he missed his second shot.
Norman Powell cut the lead to one with a dunk with 6.2 seconds remaining, and after Aldridge split another pair of free throws with 5.1 seconds to go, Powell missed a 3-pointer as time expired.

Without DeMar DeRozan, Lowry took charge offensively for the Raptors from the get-go, driving to the basket and scoring seven of his 11 first-quarter points from the free throw line. But San Antonio shot 52.2 percent from the floor to take a 29-25 edge after 12 minutes.

Behind eight points from Aldridge, the Spurs padded their lead to 13 with 3:15 to go in the first half. However, 3-pointers from Lowry and Patrick Patterson — three of the 10 points he had in the second quarter — cut San Antonio’s advantage to 61-54 at halftime.

Toronto came all the way back to tie the score at 72 on a jump shot from Cory Joseph with 3:02 to play in the third quarter, and took the lead for the first time in the game on a free throw from Ross. A 3-pointer from Davis Bertans and a layup from Joseph left the game tied at 79 going into the fourth quarter.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Leonard (left hand) and F Jonathon Simmons (right wrist) sat out. . G Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots. He had four against Boston on Nov. 25. . San Antonio scored 100 or more points for the 22nd consecutive game.

Raptors: DeRozan (right ankle) was inactive for the game. Following the sprain he suffered in Sunday’s loss to Phoenix, the Raptors said that he will also miss Wednesday’s game in Memphis before they re-evaluate the injury. . F Jared Sullinger made his first start since April 13, 2016, when he was still with Boston. . After missing the last six games with a sore left knee, Patterson returned to action on Tuesday.

THE HUNGER FOR VICTORY

“You make adjustments, make substitutions, get certain groups on the court, call timeouts, yell and scream and beg and love and be crazy and then you win or you lose and then what happens? You get to go to dinner, which is sometimes the best part of the evening, with a nice glass (of wine).” — San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich on the ups and downs of the game of basketball.

WHO LET THE DOG OUT?

Former NBA player Jerome Williams, nicknamed Junkyard Dog during his playing days with the Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, was courtside for Tuesday’s game. Acknowledged with a rousing ovation from the fans with whom he built a cult-like following from 2001-03, he tossed a few autographed basketballs into the crowd.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

With the Spurs now 20-4 on the road, as opposed to 16-5 at home, Popovich is a loss to explain why his team plays better away from the AT&T Center.

“Maybe it’s trying too hard at home, or the fact that you’re supposed to beat people quickly at home, I’m not sure what it is,” he said before the game. “If I figured it out we’d win more; I haven’t been smart enough to figure it out.”

MOVING ON UP

With his 1,126th win Tuesday night, Popovich is now one from tying Jerry Sloan for most career wins with one NBA franchise. Raptors coach Dwane Casey had described Popovich as the best coach in all of sports earlier in the day, but before the game, Popovich politely disagreed.

“That’s very flattering but obviously untrue,” he said. “I’ve been around a long time and we’ve won some games, and if you’ve forgotten, I got to coach Tim Duncan. That made me look pretty good.”

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