Leonard scores 25 as Spurs throttle Raptors (w/fan slideshow, video)
Spurs defense records 15 blocks, holds Raptors to 37 percent shooting
SAN ANTONIO – It was an unusual night for the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. It wasn't that the Spurs beat the Toronto Raptors 110-82 for their eighth straight win at home but it was how they did it.
San Antonio (28-7) got off to one of the their fastest starts at home all season. Before some of the seats were even warm, the Spurs had a 10 point lead in the first four and a half minutes of first quarter.
A lot of that was fueled by an incredible defense.
The Raptors didn't exactly look like the second best team in the East but they did look like a team finishing up a six game West coast road trip.
A stingy Spurs defense will do that to any team. Toronto came into the game averaging 111 points a game, third in the NBA.
The Spurs blocked a season high 15 shots and held the Raptors to just 37 percent shooting.
Eight different Spurs recorded at least one blocked shot, Gasol lead the team with four blocks.
"Just active, we contested shots a few great blocks," said Gasol. "I think everyone was just ready to bounce back after the tough loss on New Years Day with intensity, more physicality."
"I think we made them react to our defense. We didn't just sit back and follow them around. I thought we were up into them," said head coach Gregg Popovich.
DeMar DeRozan finished with 26 points, one below his season average while Kyle Lowry really struggled. Lowry only scored six points on 2 of 9 shooting. He averages 22.
"I think we did and incredible job on Kyle," Gasol said.
Tony Parker also did an incredible job getting things started with a quick floater, and then it just took off from there, getting to the rim to open things up for the big guys like LaMarcus Aldridge who had 23 and Pau Gasol who finished with 5.
"It just makes it easier on everyone," Aldridge said. "When he is getting to the rim a big has to drop more and then I am wide open for a pick and pop. Pau is more open for pick and pops."
Parker finished with 15 points and eight assists.
The Spurs got the lead to 22 in the second quarter thanks to a night we are used to seeing from Kawhi Leonard.
He had 21 in the first half on 8 of 11 shooting including 5 out of 6 from three point range.
Leonard finished with 25 points, bouncing back after only going 3 for 12 on Sunday in Atlanta, his first game back after missing two with stomach issues.
"A couple of days of extra rest getting that out of my system, felt a lot better energy wise," Leonard said.
"Kawhi felt like himself tonight. He get a lot of credit for pushing himself through the Atlanta game, but tonight he was back to normal," said Popovich. The Spurs lead 60-41 at halftime.
The Spurs were able to extend their lead to 30 by the end of the third quarter and actually got it to 34 before it was all said and done using an efficient effort on the offensive end. They finished with 43 made shots on 32 assists.
The Spurs are back on the road, a quick one game trip to Denver Thursday night.
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