San Antonio (35-18) at Toronto (25-27)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Feb 18, 2004
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The San Antonio Spurs have dominated the second half of the season in recent years.

The defending NBA champions will be looking to begin another impressive late-season run as they return from the All-Star break to take on the Toronto Raptors.

The Spurs have lost just 21 games after the All-Star break over the last three seasons, winning their division in each of those campaigns.

This season, the Spurs entered the break 1 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Midwest Division, but they have won five straight, the last four of which came on the road.

“We are starting to figure things out offensively,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Hopefully the All-Star break will not take us away from what we are doing well.”

San Antonio beat the Houston Rockets 85-82 on Feb. 9 behind Tim Duncan’s 28 points. Duncan, the NBA’s MVP the last two seasons, has averaged just under 30 points over his last seven games for the Spurs, who play four of their next five on the road.

“Tim has been playing at an MVP level the last month or so,” Popovich said. “That is what energizes the team. … We take him for granted, but nothing for this team gets done if it isn’t for the work that he does on the court.”

Despite his team’s recent strong play, Popovich said he doesn’t think another big finish is a sure bet.

“It either will (happen) or it won’t,” he said. “All you can do is go to work every day and try to get it to that point. That’s all you can do, and that’s what we’ll do.”

The Raptors are coming off Tuesday’s 75-73 loss to the Chicago Bulls—their second straight defeat and third in five games.

Vince Carter scored 21 points and Donyell Marshall added 10 points and a career-best 24 rebounds for Toronto, which also got 19 points from Morris Peterson.

Carter had the ball with five seconds left, but failed to get a shot off as the Raptors tied a franchise low with just nine field goals in the first half.

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