SAN ANTONIO (CP) — Unable to comfortably separate from the young Toronto Raptors, the San Antonio Spurs turned to a proven finishing formula – Tony Parker driving for layups when he wasn’t kicking the ball to open teammates on the perimeter.
Parker had 26 points and eight assists and San Antonio beat Toronto 112-99 Monday night.
“We won that game because of Tony Parker’s aggressiveness,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “His juice; his aggression all night long. And we made some 3s in the fourth quarter. Those are the two reasons we won the game.”
Parker had eight points and three assists in the final quarter, committing just one turnover in 9 minutes.
“A win is a win,” Parker said. “They’ve been playing well, the Raptors. They had a big win in (Oklahoma City) and they made it hard on us.”
Coming off a 104-98 victory over the Thunder on Sunday, the Raptors got within three or less on numerous occasions in the second half, but couldn’t complete the rallies against the Spurs.
“It was a superior team, I think, first of all,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “You talk about one of the top teams in the West. Talking to the Oklahoma City coach, they feel the same way about how tough San Antonio is.”
Toronto trailed 57-56 after DeMar DeRozan’s 3 with 9:22 left in the third quarter, but Parker and Tim Duncan combined for eight points to rebuilding San Antonio’s lead to 67-59.
In his second game off the bench after starting the Spurs’ first 26 games, Danny Green hit a pair of 3s to put San Antonio up 90-80 with just under 8 minutes remaining.
Green was 4 for 6 on 3-pointers in scoring 14 points for the Spurs (21-7).
“I didn’t bench him because he wasn’t making shots,” Popovich said. “You don’t bench people because they’re not making shots. We changed the look and changed the rotation a little bit. It could change again.”
The change helped San Antonio overcome a Toronto team that had gone 4-2 since trading leading scorer Rudy Gay to Sacramento on Dec. 9.
Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross had 23 points each and DeRozan added 13 points for the Raptors (11-15).
Ross was 3 for 6 on 3s and 10 for 16 overall.
Toronto kept pace despite giving up 16 offensive rebounds, being outscored 52-36 in the paint and allowing San Antonio to score a season-high 24 second-chance points. The Raptors also had 13 turnovers.
“That was the kicker,” Casey said. “That was difference in the game, our turnovers and the defensive glass. We didn’t do a good job of turning and finding the body and that’s mental fatigue. We had been doing a good job of keeping people off the glass and attacking the basket, but you’re not talking about chopped liver in San Antonio. They are going to be in the money at the end of the season.”
The bench again provided San Antonio a lift, with Ginobili and Patty Mills each hitting a 3 as the reserves outscored their peers 18-2 in the second quarter. Ginobili’s 3 gave the Spurs their largest lead at 52-43 with 2:20 remaining in the half.
Still, Toronto closed a three-game road trip with victories over Oklahoma City and the Dallas Mavericks.
“We’re happy with it, we wanted to be greedy and get 3-0, but 2-1 against these three teams is pretty good, we’ll take it,” Lowry said.
NOTES: DeRozan was assessed a technical foul with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter for continuing to argue a continuation call against him after official Lauren Holtkamp warned him, “That’s enough.” . The Spurs recalled G Nando De Colo and F Malcolm Thomas from their developmental team in Austin. De Colo had 31 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in a 131-94 victory over the Delaware 87ers on Saturday. . Former Spurs C David Robinson received a loud ovation, including applause from officials Holtkamp, Danny Crawford and Tony Brown, when he appeared on the big screen at midcourt to acknowledge his military service. . Steve Novak’s streak of turnover-free play ended at 202 minutes after entering with 3 minutes left in the game. It was the longest active streak in the league.