Struggles Beyond the Arc Doom the San Antonio Spurs in 112-98 Loss to Raptors

Keldon Johnson drives for the San Antonio Spurs against the Toronto Raptors
February 8, 2023, Toronto, ON: during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Wednesday, February 8, 2023. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs)

The San Antonio Spurs continue to be consistently inconsistent. For the second consecutive game, the Spurs (14-41) started the game strong but unraveled at the four-minute mark of the first quarter. On Wednesday night, the benefactors were the Toronto Raptors (26-30). They picked up their third straight win, taking the contest 112-98. The result extends San Antonio’s 10-game losing streak, including an 0-2 start to the nine-game Rodeo Road Trip.

Pascal Siakam was hot right out of the gate with 18 first-quarter points. That made up a large share of his game-high 37 points as he also led the game with seven assists. What’s more, Siakam was one of two Toronto players with a double-double, pulling down 10 rebounds as well. Off the bench for the Raptors, Chris Boucher led all players with 11 to go along with his 18 points. For San Antonio, Keldon Johnson once again paced his squad in scoring. He recorded 22 points on a rough night shooting from the floor.

Perimeter Woes Continue For the San Antonio Spurs

If Gregg Popovich had his way, his young Spurs squad wouldn’t have to worry about forcing the issue offensively from beyond the arc. Such is not the way of the NBA, however, and San Antonio felt the consequences. They connected on just 9 of 32 attempts from deep (28%). The team’s inconsistency from three-point range has been frustrating this season as Johnson, Josh Richardson, and Doug McDermott can get really hot from deep but are on a cold streak collectively. Richardson hit just two of his eight attempts (25%) and McDermott connected on three of as many (37.5%). Johnson was even worse with just one make on his six attempts (16.7%), further compounding the matter.

San Antonio’s three-point struggles are nothing new. In fact, they are arguably to blame for the squad’s rut. In the last eight games, the Spurs haven’t connected on better than 33% of their perimeter attempts, despite shooting nearly 30 of them a night. For comparison, San Antonio was 5-2 to open the season when they were connecting on 39 percent from deep. At that time, they shot an average of 36 three-point attempts per night. As much as Popovich doesn’t like it, the three-point shot is critical to his team’s success. Fixing the perimeter woes could be the key to collecting some wins down the stretch.

Outside of the three-point struggles, San Antonio again kept pace with their opponent for much of the game but failed to turn in a complete performance for 48 minutes. The team surrendered scoring runs to the Raptors to end the first quarter and start the third, creating the advantage in the final box score. A large contributor to this fact could be attributed to the continued lack of starters and its impact on their depth. Jeremy Sochan, Tre Jones, and Romeo Langford were notable scratches due to injury. On the other bench, Toronto had a healthy unit, which is a small consolation for Spurs fans.


The Rodeo Road Trip continues on Friday night in the Motor City as the Spurs take on the Detroit Pistons. Detroit (14-42) is 2-8 in their last 10 and is riding a three-game losing streak. Bojan Bogdanovic, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren continue to be bright spots despite the lack of winning. When the two teams last met at the beginning of January, Bogdanovic had a big night, leading his team with 21 points. Ivey supported him well with 20 points of his own in the losing effort in the Alamo City. Neither team shot particularly well that night, but San Antonio leveraged a 12-point scoring advantage from the charity stripe to produce the final difference. Detroit will look to play a cleaner game on Friday, while the Spurs hope to get some of their starters back. Tre Jones had a 25-point game in the last meeting and would be a welcome addition back to the rotation.

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