Spurs host suddenly hot Raptors
The San Antonio Spurs seemed to have righted themselves from a brief funk and look to remain perfect on a four-game homestand when they host the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs had lost two straight and four of five games until opening the homestand with a win over the New Orleans Hornets last week. They then made it back-to-back victories courtesy of Sunday's 129-91 blowout of the rival Dallas Mavericks and spoiled the return of Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki had missed the opening of the season to recover from offseason knee surgery and was held to eight points in 20 minutes of action. Danny Green led the Spurs with 25 points and made 7-of-8 3-pointers, while Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard scored 18 and 17 points, respectively. Tim Duncan posted 14 points for the Spurs, who shot 56 percent for the game and hit 20-of-30 from beyond the arc (66.7 percent).
"Luckily it felt good tonight. Some nights you have it and some nights you don't," said Green. "Good thing we had it tonight. Not just myself, but everybody else on the team also stepped up and knocked down some shots. It helped us open up the lead a little bit."
San Antonio's 20 3-point makes set a new franchise record for most in a single game. The Spurs, who scored 25 points off 20 Dallas turnovers, have won six in a row at home and are 10-2 in the Alamo City this season. They will wrap up the residency Friday versus Houston.
In injury news for the Spurs, guard Gary Neal is questionable Wednesday with a strained right calf.
Toronto has been on a roll lately with five wins in a row and will begin a three-game road trip against the Spurs, Hornets and Orlando Magic. The Raptors have struggled away from Canada this season, losing 14 of their 16 road games, and are 0-9 as the visitor against teams from the West.
The Raptors extended their season high winning streak to five games with a 93-90 triumph versus Orlando as DeMar DeRozan led six Raptors in double figures with 17 points and also pulled down eight rebounds. DeRozan has been playing well all season and has scored 14 or more points in 10 of the first 11 games in December.
Jose Calderon added 13 points and nine assists for Toronto, which has held opponents under 100 points in a season-high seven straight games and won despite shooting 40.7 percent for the night. Terrence Ross had 13 points in a winning effort and is averaging 10.4 ppg in the previous five.
"He's playing well," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of Ross. "He's earning every second he's on the floor, mainly on the defensive end. He got some key rebounds, some tough rebounds in traffic.
"We're not developing Terrence Ross, he's earning every minute of it. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be out there."
For how well Toronto has been playing defense lately, the Spurs can light it up practically every night. The Raptors are a dismal 0-13 when allowing the opposition to reach the 100-point mark.
The Raptors haven't won six in a row since March 22 - April 4, 2009. They lost to the Spurs, 111-106, in double overtime at Air Canada Centre back on Nov. 25 and are winless in the past four meetings.
Toronto has dropped its last three and nine of 10 games in the Alamo City. DeRozan is averaging 20.7 ppg in six games against the Spurs.