for this game

Raptors grab first win in San Antonio in seven years

Dec 29, 2007 - 5:24 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- It's been nearly seven years since it last happened, but the Toronto Raptors escaped San Antonio with an 83-73 win over the Spurs at the AT&T Center on Friday night.

Jason Kapono scored 15 points to lead five players in double figures for the Raptors, who snapped a three-game slide.

"You just can't say enough about the way we all played because one guy is not going to stop this basketball team," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "It was a good team effort, and the bad news is that we have only a short time to enjoy it as we play again tomorrow."

Toronto improved to 2-3 on its current seven-game road trip, with stops at Houston and New Orleans still on the horizon.

It was an overall sloppy game for the Spurs, who suffered through their worst shooting night of the season, connecting on only 23-of-72 from the field for 32 percent. They also committed three turnovers in the first three minutes of the contest and nine in the first quarter - more than double their four field goals.

"I thought that they were more physical that we were. They executed better, they coached better," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They wanted it more, and they were more focused in every way, shape and form. And we got our butt kicked."

San Antonio, ranked third in the NBA with 12.6 turnovers per game, finished with 19, including seven from point guard Tony Parker and five by superstar Tim Duncan.

Trailing, 15-10, midway through the first, Toronto used a 9-1 period-ending run, capped by Kapono's 3-pointer, to take the lead for good at 19-16.

The Raptors opened up the second quarter on a 15-4 run, pushing their lead to 14 points with less than six minutes left in the first half. They managed to keep their distance from San Antonio, taking a 44-32 lead into intermission.

The Raptors packed the lane throughout the first half, forcing Parker to rely on his teammates' outside shooting. The Spurs, however, shot just 30 percent in the first half and connected on 3-of-10 from the arc.

"We shot the ball as poorly as you could ever shoot it," Robert Horry said. "They didn't play great, and we played as bad as we could have possibly played."

Kapono said they wanted the Spurs to attempt longer, contested shots.

"That's what we wanted to do. We shut down the paint and forced them to beat us outside," Kapono said.

Matt Bonner started in place of Fabricio Oberto in the second half, and gave the San Antonio some much-needed energy. The Spurs rallied in the third quarter, using the entire 12 minutes to erase most of Toronto's advantage, with Bonner hitting a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the third that cut the lead to 57-56.

But that was as close as San Antonio got. Toronto outscored San Antonio, 24-17, in the fourth quarter to secure the win, its first in the Alamo City since January 17, 2001.

"I'm just glad that we hung in there. We've kind of been that team that builds a lead and have a tough time finishing the game out," Kapono said. "So, to finish out such a quality team like that says a lot about this team, and that's something to really build on."

The game began unraveling late.

Popovich was tossed from the game after receiving two technicals with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter. The first one came from Scott Wall. He thought he saw Bob Delaney make the technical foul gesture, so he prematurely walked off the court. He walked back on, argued with Delaney, and was then ejected.

Duncan got into it with Delaney a few possessions later when Bonner received a technical foul. Duncan received a technical two plays later.

Michael Finley paced San Antonio with 20 points while Duncan added 16 and 11 rebounds, and Parker chipped in 13. It was only the second home loss of the season for San Antonio, whose bench was outscored 41-15.

"They obviously had a better night than we did. We got shots that we usually knock down, and they didn't go down tonight," Duncan said. "On top of that, we turned the ball over. We used our energy and physicality to get back in the ball game, but it just wasn't enough."

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