4th quarter seems to be the rapture of the Raptors

Eduardo Harari
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@edharari

Monday, January 13, 2020


Spurs 105 - Raptors 104

TORONTO. – On a cold and muggy evening in Toronto, the Raptors were looking forward to see once again their friend and ex-teammate now with the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan. The fans cheered during the first quarter when on the scoreboard the Raptors displayed a video highlighting the contributions that DeRozan provided to the city during his tenure with the organization.

The fans gave DeMar a full standing ovation when his name was announced and he responded several times waving his hands to the crowd of over 19800 that made their way to Scotiabank Arena to witness the reason that the Spurs made the trade which sent Kwahi Leonard to the Raptors two summers ago.

“I don’t know anybody who gets two tributes in a row. Find somebody else,” DeRozan joked. “It’s amazing to be able to get that much recognition. It never gets old.”

The game started with a great feeling as the Raptors welcomed Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam back after almost a month on the injury list. The Raptor were able to hold DeRozan to 3 points in the first half with a great man to man defense and great ball control.

The Raptors took a 51 – 43 lead into the half on the great shooting of Pascal Siakam with 14 points and Serge Ibaka with 12 points.

The second half started with a change of pace and the utilization of all of the Raptor bench with the exemptions of Marc Gasol, Fred Van Vleet and Dewan Hernandez who continue to battle injuries.

The Raptors led for most of the game and had built an 18-point advantage by midway through 3rd quarter that saw Kyle Lowry battle Derrick White for the ball before crashing out of bounds. Lowry landed inches from his young son and gave his son a quick kiss before running back onto the court.

The Raptors led 82-69 to start the fourth, but once again they were unable to sustain the rhythm. A pair of DeRozan free throws capped a 21-5 Spurs run that gave San Antonio a three-point lead with 5:31 to play. The Spurs would go up by nine before Lowry, Powell and Ibaka responded with back-to-back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game with 1:17 to play, whipping the Scotiabank Arena crowd into a frenzy.

Marco Belinelli scored an open three with 28 seconds left, Siakam missed on a layup, then DeRozan sprinted downcourt chased by Lowry, who fouled his friend. DeRozan connected on his two free throws, but Lowry drained a three with four seconds left to cut the Spurs’ lead to a point. There were no last-second heroics as Siakam’s long shot at the buzzer bounced off the glass.

“We stopped playing,” said Lowry, who had 16 points and 15 assists. “We stopped being aggressive. We stopped being assertive. They got more aggressive. They got faster and we missed shots too … A lot happened and it was all spiraling downhill.”

“It says a lot especially against a great team,” DeRozan said of the Spurs’ comeback win.

Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 14 rebounds to top Toronto (25-14), becoming the third Raptor in history to record a double-double in eight straight games, along with Chris Bosh and Donyell Marshall.

Normal Powell, who returned after sitting 11 games with a shoulder injury, finished with 20 points, while Siakam, who’d been sidelined with a groin injury for 11 games, had 15 points and scored the game’s first basket just 47 seconds in when he posted up DeRozan.

“I feel like I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit,” Siakam said on his second half. “I wasn’t able to get back into it. It’s just going to take a little bit, I’m sure. . . I felt I could have been way more aggressive.”

The Raptors head to Oklahoma City on Wednesday then return home to host Washington on Friday.