Sports

Raptors’ turnovers too much to overcome against Spurs

Six-game road trip opens with first loss of the season.

Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) drives to the basket against San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) as he tires to score during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in San Antonio.

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) drives to the basket against San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) as he tires to score during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO—There were nights, everyone was warned, when the Raptors would not look good, when their reliance on shooting would be troublesome, when they’d have some disjointed lineups and too many turnovers.

Took three games for it to happen.

Shooting just 10-for-38 from three-point range and 43 per cent from the field overall, Toronto dropped its first game of the season, fading down the stretch in a 101-97 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Raptors were up six with about nine minutes left and parlayed that into a nine-point deficit with about three minutes to go. And when San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, who had been involved in a slight shoving match with Serge Ibaka a minute earlier, powered through Ibaka for a three-point play with about 90 seconds left, it sealed the game.

“The second unit had that six-point lead and they gave it right back,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “There were some mistakes made and you learn from them, they’ll learn from them. I promise you they won’t make those same mistakes come March.”

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 28 points and Jakob Poeltl had 10, while Aldridge had 20 for the Spurs and Djounte Murray had 16 points and 15 rebounds.

But Kyle Lowry was just 3-for-11 from the field and missed six of eight three-pointers he attempted, a team-wide issue.

“I wouldn’t say they took anything away from us,” DeRozan said. “We moved the ball but we just missed a lot of shots. I missed a lot of shots that I normally get to my spot and make.

“Kyle missed a lot of threes that he always makes. C.J. (Miles) missed a couple he normally makes. That’s going to happen but with that we can’t give up 18 offensive rebounds to the other team and still only lose by four points.”

With Jonas Valanciunas out with a sprained left ankle, Lucas Nogueira got the start so Casey could keep his second unit basically intact. Valanciunas said Monday morning that he hopes to play before this six-game road trip ends a week from Friday. Until then, the job is likely Nogueira’s.

“It still could be fluid and be matchup driven but for now and into the foreseeable future it will be Lucas,” Casey said before the game.

“It’s an opportunity for Lucas, it’s an opportunity for (Jakob Poeltl) to get more minutes, opportunity to get us to see Serge (Ibaka) a bit more at the five — so it’s an opportunity to develop some of those guys at that position. Otherwise, Lucas would be behind Yak and JV, because JV was playing so well.”

Nogueira didn’t have a huge impact on the game, other that eating some minutes and not hurting them. He got two fouls in the first seven minutes of the first quarter and had to come out of the game. He finished with four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.

The absence of Valanciunas is going to hurt not only because he was one of the team’s best and most consistent players through the pre-season and regular-season opener but because he’s the team’s best rebounder.

The Spurs are hardly one of the biggest teams in the league but they shredded Toronto 56-32 on the glass and had 21 second-chance points.

“We played great defence but we have to realize that we can’t let it go to waste by giving up offensive rebounds to the other team,” DeRozan said. “That’s something we can take away from this game.

“We missed a lot of open shots we normally make. We just got to get better at the offensive rebounding and we should be all right.”

TIP-INS

Raptors: Valanciunas missed his first game with a sprained left ankle. There is no timetable for his return, but the 7-footer said he expects to play during the team's current six-game road trip. . Toronto, San Antonio, Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers are the only teams with at least 48 wins in each of the past four seasons. ... The Raptors have lost nine straight in San Antonio, last winning Dec. 28, 2007. ... Toronto was San Antonio's first opponent at the AT&T Center. . The Raptors waived F K.J. McDaniels on Sunday. McDaniels was inactive for Toronto's first two games, but totalled six points, five rebounds and two blocks in three preseason games.

Spurs: Danny Green had a career-high five blocks and San Antonio had 12 as a team. Green also scored 17 points. . F Joffrey Lauvergne exited with 9:19 remaining in the fourth quarter after spraining his right ankle. Popovich did not know the severity of the injury, but said it didn't appear serious. . Anderson had a career high two blocks, both coming in the first quarter. ... The Spurs had a 3-pointer for the 978th straight game, the fifth longest streak in the NBA.

UP NEXT

Raptors: At Warriors on Wednesday.

Spurs: At Miami on Wednesday.

REMEMBER WHEN?

Murray's 15 rebounds were the most by a Spurs guard since Ginobili had 15 against Toronto in 2008.

“It's got to be a mistake,” Ginobili said, stunned.

Ginobili was asked if he remembered when he could soar like Murray.

“No,” he said, laughing. “What was it, 28 years ago? I remember when I was very active on the court and I could go for boards and play on the other end.”

With files from The Associated Press

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