Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were greeted with a tribute video in their honor with a thank you from the Spurs when Toronto visited the Spurs on Wednesday. The fans reception was a mix of boos and cheers as the announcer called Leonard’s name in the starting lineup, as all focus was on the small forward’s return to San Antonio. Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan stole the show, posting a triple double and leading the Spurs to the huge 125-107 win over Toronto.
DeRozan dropped 21 points with 14 boards and 11 assists, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points as the Spurs move to 22-17. The win over top Eastern Conference competition will give the Spurs confidence at home, where they are already 16-5 this season. The win is San Antonio’s third win in a row as this new group starts to finally gel under Popovich.
DeMar DeRozan has quickly adjusted to life with the Spurs, and is quietly leading his team with impressive numbers. Coach Popovich has given DeRozan many touches on the offensive end, putting the ball in his hands on nearly 90% of possessions that he is on the floor. DeRozan is averaging a team best 22.8 points a game, and a highly productive 6.4 assists a game. DeRozan is accounting for such a high percentage of San Antonio’s points up to this point, and will only improve as the season creeps on.
As for the Raptors, recovery will have to happen quickly. The road trip continues on Saturday, when they matchup with the team holding the best record in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors started the season red hot, but have faded since, and are just 5-5 in the last 10.
To make things worse, it seems that key player Kyle Lowry, who missed the Spurs game, may miss out at least one more game, with big man Jonas Valanciunas being ruled out for at least 3 weeks. Both players are large parts to what Toronto do, and will have to be healthy if Toronto are to return to their best.
With games against the Bucks and the Pacers in the next week, look for Toronto to make a stand against their Eastern Conference foes.