NBA: Spurs inflict season-worst defeat on tired Raptors

San Antonio Spurs' top-scorers Kawhi Leonard (left) and LaMarcus Aldridge leaving Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas with little room to manoeuvre.
San Antonio Spurs' top-scorers Kawhi Leonard (left) and LaMarcus Aldridge leaving Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas with little room to manoeuvre. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • The San Antonio Spurs dominated Toronto 110-82 on Tuesday, handing the Raptors their worst defeat of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season in a clash of elite teams.

It was the second loss by 10 points or more for Toronto, the first being a 121-111 defeat by the Golden State Warriors on Dec 29.

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 as the Spurs (28-7), second in the Western Conference behind Golden State, raced to a big first-quarter lead that they would not relinquish.

Firing on all cylinders on their home floor, the Spurs led by 30 points going into the fourth quarter, by which starters Leonard, Aldridge, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol all sat out.

The Spurs, who fell in overtime to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, are now 6-1 this season in games after a defeat.

Parker added 15 points and his eight assists matched the total produced by the Raptors (23-11).

The Spurs, in contrast, had 32 assists, along with a season-high in blocked shots with 15.

"Any team is dangerous when you move the ball like that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's hard to guard when the ball changes sides. You are able to play with open people and shots are more uncontested - and it just multiplies."

Toronto's DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 26 points. Terrance Ross poured in 17, Cory Joseph added 11 points and DeMarre Carroll hit 10 for the Raptors, who are second in the East behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Toronto were also showing signs of fatigue in the final game of a 13-day, six-game road trip and Popovich offered his sympathy.

"Well, we all get tough spots in our schedule, and it showed a little bit," he said. "I'm sure they had more energy at the beginning of the road trip than they do now. But they'll come back."

Toronto coach Dwane Casey praised the Spurs' play.

"That was a championship performance by a championship team," he said.

"That's the way you come out with a championship approach and desperation mode and we didn't meet it. It started from the first play of the game."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs inflict season-worst defeat on tired Raptors'. Print Edition | Subscribe