Toronto Raptors: Three takeaways from DeMar DeRozan revenge game

San Antonio Spurs - DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs - DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

In one of their most anticipated games of the year, the Toronto Raptors got absolutely walloped by the San Antonio Spurs.  Here are the three takeaways from DeMar DeRozan’s revenge game.

It was DeMar DeRozan‘s first game against the Toronto Raptors. It was Kawhi Leonard‘s first game against the San Antonio Spurs. It was….. an absolute shellacking. The Spurs handily beat the Raptors 125-107 in a game which really didn’t feel that close.

After a few quick buckets, San Antonio took complete control. A barrage of three-point attempts from the Spurs combined with a tightened rim for the Raptors helped end this game before it even started.

The story of the game was DeMar DeRozan vs Kawhi Leonard. Leonard was good. He finished with 21 efficient points and five assists. From the second quarter on, the Spurs sent a swarm of defenders at Kawhi whenever he touched the ball. The Spurs fans also gave their regards whenever Kawhi touched the ball.

Kawhi was good. DeRozan was better. He finished with his first career triple-double with a nice stat-line of 21/14/11. He had a couple of fantastic plays around the rim and looked like the best player on the court. Before fans come with, “Where was this type of effort in the playoffs,” please just shut up. DeRozan gave his best for the city, even if it wasn’t good enough.

What else did we learn? Here are my three big takeaways:

Bryn Forbes & Derrick White vs. Fred VanVleet & Danny Green

If DeMar DeRozan vs Kawhi Leonard was the headliner, the battle of the backcourts was the 2-round knockout on the undercard. Bryn Forbes and Derick White dominated Fred VanVleet and Danny Green.

White and Forbes shot a combined 15-21 from the field, 8-10 from three-point range, scored 39  points, recorded 7 assists, and didn’t manage one turnover. That is one monster game. I don’t care what DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard do, it’s hard to overcome that type of performance.

Meanwhile, the Raptors starting backcourt combined for 12 points on 5-18 shooting. Fred VanVleet looked lost trying to initiate the offense. Danny Green forced terrible shots all night.

You can look at the other factors, but this matchup was the story of the game.

Troubling Trend

This game shouldn’t be concerning. The Raptors not playing well in more than a month should be concerning. Yes, Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas have missed significant time, but there is more to these issues.

Since December 1st (JV and Lowry have played in 7 of these 17 games), the Raptors have a negative net rating, meaning they have been outscored by opponents during that time. They have the second lowest AST% in the NBA, the 21st ranked offense, and are 9-8.

Kawhi Leonard is averaging just about 30 per night, and the Raptors still can’t find a way to score. Lowry and JV’s absence shouldn’t mask the more pressing issue that Toronto has been playing poorly for a long time.

Tale of one quarter

As bad as last night felt, the Raptors really were only outplayed for one quarter. The Spurs won the opening frame by 29. After that, it was actually +1 Toronto.

Of course, the game might play out completely differently if San Antonio isn’t in complete cruise control from the first quarter on. The Raptors never pulled the game within 15 after the first nine minutes. The Spurs never felt threatened.

It is good to remember that it was just one quarter. San Antonio shot the lights out while Toronto couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from a boat. Tonight’s contest was tough. It wasn’t the end of the world.

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