Long-distance dilemma

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

SAN ANTONIO -- This is the kind of game the Raptors are going to have to live with given their new defensive philosophies.

Keeping their opponents to the outside and forcing them to shoot long-ranger jumpers was the Raptors' goal last night and barring a change for the foreseeable future. They did exactly what they wanted and still came up 10 points short in falling 107-97 to the San Antonio Spurs.

It was the Raptors' fifth consecutive loss and 10th in their past 12 games.

Although the Raptors were effective in keeping the Spurs out of the paint, San Antonio was deadly from behind the three-point line -- hitting 16 of 35. Both season highs for a Raptors opponent.

Michael Finley and a pair of former Raptors -- Matt Bonner and Roger Mason -- led the way with four each from beyond the arc.

"It was a pretty awesome display of shooting," Raps head coach Jay Triano said. "You have to give up something and we rolled the dice and they made their threes."

Triano said this won't be the case in the future.

"As we get better we will be closing out a little quicker on them but our guys are playing the system that we want and this team made shots," he said. "We have to find a way to get guys not just protecting the paint but closing out a little harder and running guys off the three."

Chris Bosh was back talking with the media a night after storming out following a disheartening 91-83 loss to the 30th place Oklahoma City Thunder.

While buoyed by the fact that the effort was better and the Raptors stayed with the Spurs for most of the night, he found it hard to even address the idea of a moral victory.

"No, that's thinking positive and everything, but I would rather get a victory than try to make something out of nothing," he said. "I'm at the point now where I just want to win. We're very close. We just have to keep fighting and stay consistent."

The Raptors fed Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal a steady diet of passes, which led to a number of easy buckets.

It just couldn't measure up to the parade of three-point makes the Spurs were getting at the other end.

O'Neal led the Raptors with a season-high 24 points, while Bosh chipped in with 17. Both pulled down 10 rebounds.

"You have to believe that eventually they are going to miss those shots and we're going to get those rebounds and we'll be playing solid basketball," Bosh said.

The rebounding, while not as one-sided as recent Raptors losses, favoured the Spurs 48-38. Bosh, however, believes his team is making process.

"Tonight it was a tough bounce," Bosh said. "They shot a lot of threes and even though we boxed out, they got a lot of rebounds because it went over our heads. That's just the fate of the ball sometimes."

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REPLAY

TURNING POINT

Jose Calderon's minutes in the first half were limited because of an upset stomach that eventually landed him in the Raps locker room with six minutes left in the half. He was able to return in the second half.

JAKE'S DEBUT

Jake Voskuhl made his Raptors debut coming off the bench to start the second quarter. Voskuhl, who has sat the past three games, wasn't on the court even a minute before he had scored his first points in a Raptors uniform on a turnaround fade away jumper.

NOT QUITE MANU

Manu Ginobili has been back for a dozen games since off-season ankle surgery cost him the beginning of the season. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Ginobili, however, still is far from being in top form.


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