After the standing ovations and tribute videos, DeMar DeRozan knew it was time to settle down and play basketball in Toronto for the first time in his career as a member of the visiting team.
The 29-year-old guard made the crowd ooh and ah the moment he touched the ball in the opening minutes but it would not be enough as the San Antonio Spurs fell 120-117 to the Toronto Raptors (44-16) at Scotiabank Arena on Friday night.
The loss was the fifth in the last six games for San Antonio, who are in the back end of their eight-game annual Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs will close out the 2019 edition with a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday.
“It was a great game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “After a long break, you think it would take a while to get that. Both teams started slow but it was a competitive game all the way around.”
Here is what went good and bad as well as three standout players: DeRozan, Davis Bertans, and Patty Mills.
- The Spurs played their best game of the Rodeo Trip on Friday night, despite coming out on the losing end. San Antonio held Toronto to 13 fastbreak points and was slightly outmatched 46-40 in the paint. All in all, signs are pointing to positive play moving forward.
- DeMar DeRozan played his best game in weeks.
- The Spurs bench simply destroyed Toronto’s on the night overall.
- Kawhi Leonard may have scored 25 points but he needed 23 shots to get there.
- LaMarcus Aldridge struggled on the night, scoring just six points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Three Standout Players:
DeRozan truly deserved the love he felt from the city of Toronto on Friday and after all the tributes were done, he went out and showed his former team what they traded away.
He finished with 23 points on 58 percent shooting to go along with eight assists and four rebounds. He converted a three-point play to start the game and went viral with a nice 360 spin move to the basket. However, he turned the ball over late and that was the game. A sad end to a bittersweet homecoming.
“The atmosphere made it fun,” DeRozan said. “It was a heck of a game and it came down to a few plays. It sucks that we had that turnover but for the most part, it was a hell of a game.”
The Aussie guard came off the bench and scored 15 points but much of his work came on the defensive end of the floor.
Mills was assigned with guarding former Spur Kawhi Leonard and he played well. He limited Leonard to just six points on 3-for-12 shooting while he guarded him for the game. Overall, Leonard finished with 25 points but shot just 8-for-23 for the game.
The league’s best three-point shooter came off the bench and helped out in a big way on Friday night.
Bertans finished with 16 points and shot 4-for-6 from three-point range. He helped out on the defensive end as well as he had a steal and three rebounds.
The Spurs are now 33-27 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday night when they take on the New York Knicks (11-48) at 6:30pm Central Time from Madison Square Garden.