Spurs open Rodeo Road Trip in Toronto

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will face another challenge on this five-game homestand with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs scheduled to visit Air Canada Centre Sunday evening.

The Raptors had no problem with the Los Angeles Clippers in Friday's 123-107 triumph and DeMar DeRozan led the way with 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and is averaging 20.9 ppg in 18 games against Western Conference opponents.

Los Angeles had a 34-19 lead after the first quarter, but the Raptors stormed back with 38 points in each of the second and third quarters.

"I loved the fight and tenacity we had defensively against one of the top scoring teams in the league," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said.

Toronto, which halted a two-game slide and won for the seventh time in nine attempts, improved to 19-9 at home and will close the residency Wednesday versus the Washington Wizards.

The Spurs will kick off their annual Rodeo Road Trip and are scheduled to play the next nine games outside the Alamo City. They will visit Toronto, Indiana, Detroit, LA Clippers, Golden State, Utah, Portland, Sacramento and Phoenix.

San Antonio is 12-11 on the road and will travel just over 8,000 miles on this lengthy sojourn. It went 5-1 on a recent homestand, which culminated with Friday's 98-85 victory over the Miami Heat in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals.

Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points, Tony Parker added 21 and Tim Duncan recorded 10 points to go along with 12 rebounds. The Spurs scored 24 points off 17 Miami turnovers and had a 43-37 advantage in rebounds. They headed into the final frame with a 77-61 advantage.

"It's a lot more consistent than we have been for more of the 48 minutes both in competitiveness and execution," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is one win shy of 1,000. "That was one of our more better games in that regard."

Popovich will become only the second coach all-time to record 1,000 wins with one franchise (Jerry Sloan, Jazz), and the third-fastest coach to 1,000 victories (Phil Jackson, Pat Riley).

The Spurs have won nine of their last 11 games overall and are 14-4 against teams from the Eastern Conference.

San Antonio and Toronto will play the first of two matchups this season and are slated to meet again March 10 in the Alamo City. The Spurs are unbeaten in the last seven games in this series and have won four straight trips north of the border.

The Spurs are 27-9 all-time against the Raptors.