Raps humbled by Spurs

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

SAN ANTONIO -- No matter how good a team is feeling about itself, there usually is someone out there feeling a little bit better.

The Raptors came into this one feeling pretty good having won 12 of their past 15 but found that other team last night in the San Antonio Spurs and they weren't feeling just a little bit better. They were feeling a whole lot better.

The final score of 107-91 actually flattered the Raptors.

"They just outplayed us," head coach Sam Mitchell said. "It's only the second game I can remember where we just got it handed to us. It's disappointing but we lost to a good basketball team on their court. Hopefully we learned from it."

The other beat-down Mitchell was referring to came Dec. 11 in Miami, when the Heat ran away in a 99-77 thumping.

Last night it was like the Spurs took it upon themselves to show the Raptors how much further they had to go before they joined the big boys in the league.

They did it on defence, holding the Raptors to 42% shooting for the game but just 37.8% in the first half when the game was decided.

They did it on offence, shooting a stellar 53.2% themselves, again even better in the first half when they were hitting at a 58.1% clip.

If it wasn't Tony Parker slashing his way to the hoop, it was Tim Duncan setting up in his office with his back to the basket and banking home shot after shot.

In other words, it was the tried and true formula that has been working for the Spurs for seasons.

Parker finished with a game-high 27 followed by Duncan's 24.

Adding insult to injury, and the Raptors will have a better idea just how insulting today, were the premature exits of guard Anthony Parker with a sprained right ankle and Jorge Garbajosa with a twisted right knee.

Of the two, Parker's injury appeared to be more serious. With just under five minutes to go he made a strong drive down the baseline only to be met by a phalanx of San Antonio defenders.

The ball didn't find the mark and when Parker came down it was on Bruce Bowen's foot. Go figure.

X-rays proved negative but Parker did not return in the game.

Garbajosa collided with Manu Ginobili and was in some discomfort as he left the court. Like Parker, he did not return.

Chris Bosh, who has been the Raptors' Mr. Everything, was held in check most of the night by a stingy Spurs defence in general and a very effective Franciso Elson in particular.

"He stayed in front of him and keep him off the free throw line," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Elson. "The team defence also aided, but the main emphasis fell on Francisco. He did a really fine job."

Bosh was held to 14 points for the night.

If nothing else, the game was a learning experience for a young team climbing the ladder.

REPORT CARD

D Offence: Yes, they were playing against the top-ranked defence in the league, but the Raptors' ball movement that leads to open baskets was not on display.

D Defence: All those strides the Raptors seemed to be making the past two games disappeared. When the shots weren't falling, the desire to get back and defend began to wane.


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