Leonard scores 25 as Spurs throttle Raptors, 110-82

Leonard scores 25 as Spurs throttle Raptors, 110-82

SAN ANTONIO — The Toronto Raptors offered no excuses at the end of a two-week road trip, and the San Antonio Spurs didn’t show any pity.

Kawhi Leonard had 25 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 and the Spurs beat Toronto 110-82 on Tuesday night, holding the Raptors to their lowest score of the season.

Toronto was playing its sixth straight road game in 12 days, but refused to blame fatigue for falling 29 points below its season average.

“I think they just came out and beat our (butts),” said Kyle Lowry, limited to a season-low six points.

San Antonio dominated a matchup of teams with the second-best record in each conference, leading by as many as 34 points.

The Spurs shot 55 per cent from the field, collecting 32 assists on 43 field goals while capturing their eighth straight win at home.

“I thought we made the extra pass,” Aldridge said. “It’s just the way our guys play here. Guys found the open guy trying to get to the rim. The guys were playing with confidence, moving the ball out there.”

Aldridge and Leonard combined to shoot 19 for 28 from the field, but it was veteran point guard Tony Parker who set the tone for the Spurs.

Parker finished with 15 points and eight assists in 23 minutes.

“Even when he’s not making (his tear-drop shot), guys always have to respect him getting to the lane,” Leonard said. “He has a vision to see us out there. He’s always drawing two guys and someone’s always open.”

After scoring the game’s opening basket on a floater, Parker drove the lane and tossed the ball out to Aldridge and Pau Gasol for mid-range jumpers and to Danny Green for a 3-pointer.

“That was a championship performance by a championship team,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s the way you come out with a championship approach and desperation mode and we didn’t meet it. It started from the first play of the game.”

The Spurs raced to a 26-10 lead in the opening eight minutes, and the Raptors never recovered.

Parker set up three straight dynamic plays in the first half that put the Raptors on their heels and gave the Spurs their largest lead at 54-32 with 2:28 left in the first half.

Green’s steal and half-court pass led to a one-handed, breakaway dunk for Leonard that revved up the sold-out crowd.

Parker dribbled around his back on the run to lose Lowry at the top of the 3-point line, got DeMar DeRozan to leap in the paint and then whipped a pass to the left corner for a 3-pointer from Leonard.

Parker then passed under the basket to Aldridge, who tossed it out to Leonard. He faked a shot, dribbled, reset and made a 3 for a 22-point lead.

“Usually we try to make that comeback, but they kept putting their foot on the gas,” DeRozan said. “That’s why they are one of the best teams in the league.”

DeRozan led Toronto with 26 points, but Lowry was held to 2-for-9 shooting.

“We knew that DeRozan and Kyle are the offensive threats of that team,” Gasol said. “We wanted to make it tough on them.”

The Spurs had a season-high 15 blocks and forced 14 turnovers.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Toronto shot 37 per cent from the field while failing to reach 90 points for the first time this season. … The Raptors scored a previous season-low 91 points in three games, with the most recent being Dec. 29 at Phoenix. … F Patrick Patterson missed his second straight game with a strained left knee. … Toronto last won in San Antonio on Dec. 28, 2007.

Spurs: Leonard has scored in double figures in 67 straight games. Tim Duncan, who retired after last season, holds the franchise record with 75 in a row from 2005-06. … Aldridge has 12 3-pointers in 31 games this season, the second-highest total of his career. He had 37 in 2014-15, his final season in Portland. … San Antonio (28-7) matched its third-best start after 35 games. The team’s best mark was 29-6, set in 2011 and equaled last season.

STRUGGLING AGAINST THE BEST

Toronto is winless against the NBA’s top three teams, losing three games to Cleveland and two to Golden State before falling to San Antonio.

“We’ve got to get better if we want to compete with the best of the best,” Lowry said. “We’ve got to be better.”

MISSING YOU

Toronto guard Cory Joseph, who played four seasons with the Spurs beginning in 2011, remains a favourite with San Antonio fans and the team’s coaching staff.

“He was a great teammate for everybody,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “One of the hardest workers. Playing two or three years in the D-League (with San Antonio’s Austin affiliate) going back and forth. I’m thrilled for what he’s accomplished for himself.”

UP NEXT

Raptors: Host the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

Spurs: At the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

Raul Dominguez, The Associated Press

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