- That was a San Antonio-esque outing by the Raptors to rest their best players, while still managing to compete down to the wire. Credit has to go to deep bench players for staying ready, and to Dwane Casey for keeping his team focused. The Spurs haven’t lost at home all season. The Raptors were down 4 with 2 minutes left.
- Norman Powell just keeps on killing it: He turned the game around in the third quarter. The Spurs came out sharp, built a healthy lead, and looked to have the Raptors on the ropes. But that’s when Powell took it coast-to-coast 3 times to keep them within striking distance.
- Powell’s athleticism in the open court is crazy. Even Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green (two of the best transition defenders in the league) couldn’t stop him.
- The other rookie Delon Wright also looked sharp. He had it cooking in the second quarter with some gorgeous crossovers to get into the lane for layups. He went at Tim Duncan in the lane, which is positively nuts (even more nuts: it worked), and Wright was solid on defense. Tracked back for some key rebounds, grabbed 3 steals.
- Ultimately, the Raptors lost the game because they couldn’t secure enough rebounds. The Spurs reeled in 14 offensive rebounds as Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge used their size advantage to perfection.
- Speaking of perfection, Leonard is the most complete player in the league. On top of being the best defender, a dead-eye 3-point shooter, and Leonard also flashed some prime Kobe post fadeaways in the final moments to secure the win. The Raptors played him perfectly, forced him into contested pull-ups, and it didn’t matter.
- Nice to see Cory Joseph (16 pts, 7 ast) beat his mentor Tony Parker (8 pts, 4 ast).
- I’m a bit worried about Bismack Biyombo. He hasn’t been very effective since the 25-rebound night against Indiana. Defenses are really ignoring him, and unless he’s playing with Lowry, he’s an utter sinkhole. More troublesome: his defensive prowess isn’t quite there, especially against bulkier post scorers. LMA lit him up.
- On the flip side, the Jonas Valanciunas-Patrick Patterson duo continues to thrive. That’s a great sign heading into the playoffs. More of that (and much less of Scola).
- James Johnson was a minus-14 in 17 minutes while missing all 5 of his shots. It’s almost impressive how bad he was.