Raps wasted in Texas

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

If Davey Crockett and his brave band of Texans shot as poorly as the Raptors did last night, this state would still be part of Mexico.

As it was, the Raptors shot 37% from the field -- 28% after the first three quarters -- against the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs, and limped away with their tails between their legs in the form of a 92-86 loss at the SBC Center, putting an end to a modest three-game win streak. The defeat dropped the Raps to 24-33 and a little bit further out of the Atlantic Division playoff picture.

The Spurs improved to 44-13.

Yesterday's contest certainly was one-sided, but would have been even worse if the Raptors weren't so aggressive in the first half.

The Raptors trailed the Spurs by only six points at the half, 42-36, despite shooting a measly 24% from the field.

What Toronto did well was attack the basket and were awarded with 19 trips to the free throw line, 35 times in total, converting 29 times.

In all, the Raps only hit on nine shots from the floor in the opening 24 minutes, one above the team low for a half.

At one point in the second quarter, the Raptors had shot 4-for-26 -- a pathetic 15% clip -- before Donyell Marshall finally hit a three-pointer to bring Toronto to within 28-21.

Trailing 70-56 after three quarters, the Raptors out-scored the Spurs 30-22 in the final 12 minutes to make a game of it, but it was a case of too little, too late.

"We could have easily rolled over and died in the third quarter but we kept fighting and that's the thing about our team, no matter what the circumstances we're going to keep playing until that last buzzer," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said.

The Spurs took control of the game early in the third quarter, out-scoring Toronto 15-2 in the opening few minutes, to go up 57-38 and put a strangle hold on their visitors in front of 17,795.

Much of the credit for Toronto's poor shooting went to the Spurs' tenacity on defence. Virtually anytime a Raptor went up for a shot a member of the San Antonio team had his hand in their face.

The Raptors actually did a good job controlling all-world power forward Tim Duncan, who managed 13 points and 11 boards, not great numbers for him.

Tony Parker led the Spurs attack with 15 points and seven assists while his backcourt mate Manu Ginobili had 17 points.

POOR EFFORT

Starting small forward Morris Peterson had yet another poor showing on the road, managing only two points in 17 minutes.

A bright spot for Toronto was Bosh, who had eight boards and 16 points, and played well against Duncan. Marshall had 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Mitchell still hopes to come away from the current four-game trip with a split. The Raps move on to Memphis for a game on Friday night before embarking for New Orleans on Sunday and Dallas on Monday.

Forward Eric Williams missed last night's game because of a strained right calf.


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