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Spurs end Raptors' five-game win streak

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Spurs had Christmas Day off to enjoy the holiday, and they came into Wednesday's game with the Toronto Raptors still shaking off the Christmas cheer. At least for one half, until the Big Three got rolling.

The Spurs used a balance attack, with Tim Duncan scoring 15 points and Manu Ginobili 14, as they defeated the Toronto Raptors 100-80 Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.

Tony Parker had 13 points, and Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter each had 10, as San Antonio won its third in a row and improved its record to 22-8. The loss ended Toronto's five-game winning streak.

"You got a Hall-of-Famer in (Manu) Ginobili, and (Tim) Duncan and (Tony) Parker, and it's a huge difference," said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. "They give you so many problems. Hall-of-Famer rolling to the basket, Hall-of-Famer driving to the basket, so you pick your poison."

Kawhi Leonard had 10 rebounds to go with nine points for the Spurs.

Toronto, playing the first game of a three-game road trip, kept it close for most of the game, until the Spurs closed out the third quarter with a 13-4 run.

San Antonio went up by 15 on a Parker layup with 22 seconds in the quarter, but a John Lucas jump shot cut it to 70-57 entering the fourth quarter.

The Spurs went ahead by 19 points midway through the final quarter when Diaw connected on a nine-foot jump shot.

"Defensively in the first half we were not that bad. We were a little flat, not very aggressive," said Ginobili of San Antonio's sluggish start. "Second half we stepped it up, started to run a little more and score a little better. So we got the lead."

Toronto, which had held its opponents under the century mark the previous seven games, couldn't keep San Antonio under 100.

The Spurs shot 48 percent from the field for the game.

"We upped our pace offensively and got a few more stops and opened it up," said Duncan on the Spurs' second-half performance.

Amir Johnson, picking up playing time with injuries to centers Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas, led Toronto with 12 points.

The Spurs took advantage of the absences in the middle and outscored the Raptors 34-18 in the paint.

The Spurs' aggressive play helped them get to the line for 29 free throws, and they made 24 of them. Toronto only attempted 12 free throws for the game.

Alan Anderson also had 12 points, while Terrence Ross and Lucas had 10 apiece. The Raptors had their five-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 9-20.

Jose Calderon dished out 10 assists, but no Toronto starter scored in double figures.

"Three-of-9 is not as bad as it looks," said Calderon on his shooting night. "At the end of the day, we were moving the ball, we missed those open shots; but it was that little stretch, a couple of offensive rebounds, a couple of threes, and they go up 10-plus points, and then it's tough to play against a team like the Spurs when you're 10 points down."

San Antonio led by seven points at halftime, 44-37, behind Danny Green's eight points.

He hit both his 3-point attempts, but San Antonio could not match Sunday's output when it set a franchise record with 20 3-pointers in their win against the Dallas Mavericks.

San Antonio was 8-of-19 from the 3-point line Wednesday.

Johnson also had eight first-half points for Toronto.

Toronto is now winless (0-10) on the road against Western Conference opponents.

Notes: San Antonio guard Gary Neal strained his right calf Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks and did not return in the Spurs' blow out win. He was scratched before the game on Wednesday...Toronto is also battling injuries. With Bargnani out with a torn right elbow ligament and Valanciunas nursing a broken right finger, the Raptors are thin at the center position. Aaron Gray started at center Wednesday....San Antonio defeated Toronto earlier in the season in a 111-106 double overtime thriller on November 25...The Spurs have one of their deepest teams in recent memory. They currently have six players averaging 10 or more points per game, most in the NBA...Toronto's five-game winning streak heading into Wednesday's action was tied for the longest in the Eastern conference this season. The Miami Heat also won five straight...Members of the University of Texas and Oregon State football teams were in attendance at tonight's game. The schools will face off Saturday in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
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