SAN ANTONIO, Tex. – In seconds before the story of a video on the board in the AT & T center appeared, a big, loud fan with a massive cowboy hat wanted to be clear about the expectations:
"Everyone is ready to rebel!"
Until the start of the game and the new favorite son of San Antonio DeMar Derozan and his new best friends have scattered the old team into the way the middle child would be a spider.
Then Spurs fans welcome the exclamations of the justified, from those proven right, at least for one night.
Spurs 'victory of 125-107 over Raptors' guests was unequivocal in that way. Spurs gave the old team to Derozan and Leonard's new team a heavy blow. Derozan's prints were everywhere.
"It was fun, it was really fun," Derozan said after setting his first career triple double in the masterful performance against his old team. "[Playing the Raptors] it was not hard at all. I was not nervous, it was really fun. Going out there, I was interfering with the old teammates, I interfered with them, it was definitely fun. "
For Derosan and Spurs. Leonard may wonder what enters into him.
In a game where emotions were great and attention was focused on seeing who would answer and how, Raptors came out as if it was just another Thursday. Ho-hum, another night on TNT.
"It's frustrating just because [of the way] we are playing, "said Leonard." That's it [like] any other game. We want to be better. We want the next game to be able to do the same thing every night that we stand on this floor. We want to be a better team. We did not do a good job at all. "
Napoli's attack was ready to miss. No matter what Leonard did to San Antonio, Tottenham fans clearly took it.
One of the clips in the video of two long-distance services, which helped the franchisee win the final title, was Leonard, who won the Larry O'Hare's trophy in 2014. Leonard was the Final MVP.
In another he dived for a loose ball in traffic.
Every time they showed his face, the soldier crowd exhausted the broken hearts.
Danny Green? He did not have these problems. Every move of the current Raptor and the former Spur made the video and in real time he was warmly welcomed. They sang his name during a pre-game introduction.
Leonard was not nearly as happy. No – he was not in the defender Vince Carter back to the ACC levels – but it may be difficult to get enough that was done when your team won five titles in the NBA.
Leonard argued that he was expected and he was unchanged: "I accepted and enjoyed the moment, and that would make me better."
It's a cliché to say that there is electricity in the building of a night like this when a pure passion penetrates through the inevitable dose that is part of the long 82 games.
But this was over it.
This was a fallen high-voltage line snake back and forth through the pavement, sparks fly. But it was Tottenham that ignited. The Raptors are just burned.
And in case anyone forgot that he really had reason to be hurt about how it happened in the off-season, Derozan made sure to remind the whole damn planet.
"I mean, you have to progress at such moments," said Derozan, who heard some "chants" during the game. "You should want to play in such an atmosphere, whether it's at home or on the road. That kind of fuel and that sort of thing gets you going. That's what makes it so fun."
Raptors made a trade Leonard-DeRozan because they believed – and almost every statistical or anecdotal evidence would support that belief – that in Leonard got the best player in the deal, one of the best in all basketball.
It can be true.
But on Thursday in San Antonio, Derozan was the player in the full command of his game. He was the one who raised his teammates and levitated in the building.
It was spectacular material, and it's not unknown at all, except Derozan, who went nuclear in silver-black, not red-black. He was brilliant, his 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists saying only part of the story.
He finished his best work before the half hour, becoming the first Spoor after Tim Duncan scored at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the first 24 minutes on his way to the statistic twist that lasted 10 years.
"I told him it's time," said the Spanish national coach, Greg Popovic. "I did. I just told him," I said, "It's time for you to have a triple couple."
Reply to the bell? It was the best first half – statistically – Derrozan may have ever played the way to one of his most competitive games ever. It is incredible coincidence, although he was helped by Raptors' defense approach – Spurs shot 55.3 percent of the floor and 48.1 percent of the depth – not seen after LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers ran a line against Raptors in the playoffs. Only this time, Derrozan played on the part of Lebron.
At one point in the first quarter, Derozan found himself isolated from Serge Ibaka in the line with three points, naturally. Raptors, the leading scorer of all times, was trembling and roasting, attracted overcrowded Ibaka into a foul, after which Derozan did not allow himself to float to go so high that it was like the ball itself pauses at the top of the clock to give him a finger for anyone who thinks that trades with him is a good idea.
It was a trick shot that was as submissive and arrogant as any dunk he could throw down – although there was one expression one of them, too.
But, as the game of Derosan screamed from the rooftops, Leonard – the silent silent – struggled to find his voice. And worse, his supporter – minus Kyle Laurie, who missed the ninth game in the last deck with an incredible back – was not a big chorus.
Spurs sent two and three defenders to Leonard routine, certainly knowing that nobody appeared to help him with a heavy lifting. They packed the pain and barely waved open three openers.
Why are you bothering? Raptors proved this year that they are not a dangerous three-shot shooting team – with 34.1 percent of the three ranked 25th in the NBA – and they were only 6-30 against the Spurs.
"To start the game, two, three, four wide open triples that enter and exit. They descend and receive three, and-1, three and-1, and that's just a recipe for disaster," said Raptors Fred Van Vole, who started in place of Lowry. "There are other reasons that obviously need to be better to deal with internally. But if you do not have shots and make shots, it's kind of so simple."
The Raptors landed 38-19 at the end of the first quarter and 50-25 with 8:19 to play in the second. They managed to get the deficit to 67-51 at the half, but Spurs came out to a 12-0 ranking, organized by three more Derosan assists and all hopes of return were largely overturned.
It was undoubtedly a weak ransom for Derosan who said that before selling from Toronto was like finding out that she would not marry a girl of your dreams. And it was certainly good for Tottenham fans and their organization. Popovic urged him to be able to procure Derozan's "God's gift".
But for the Raptors it was a disaster, or a regular season version of one. Surely part of their recruiting pitch for Leonard is that he arrived with a franchise that is ready to win and win a big one. It can not be encouraging that in the greatest game of the season, the one where the emotions were at its highest, Raptors became flat.
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Leonard was relatively efficient, finished 21 points to 13 shots and added five assists, but did not have any help. Lowry was not available to go into battle with him, and the story of his 33-year-old guard from the 33-year-old guard can not be the most encouraging sign when it comes to evaluating Raptors for short or long-term success. Elsewhere, Raptors looked like a team of role players, no one could step up at the moment. Even Greene – a battle hardened, playing in his sports hall – looked struck while missing all the seven shots he took and was -26, the worst in the night.
Meanwhile, Spurs (22-17) looked fluid and well-oiled as ever, a collection of beach-and-game talents that won for the 11th time in 14 games. Four beginners had over 19 points, while Rudy Gay had 13. Everywhere he looked, Derozan had an option, and he fully exploited it.
Leonard could only wish, and all Lurie watched him.
While Raptors fans are likely to spend most of the season wondering if Leonard may stay, after a humble return to San Antonio Leonard might wonder why he ever left and where he went on.
Meanwhile, when the watch was wounded, the video board went to DeRozan, relaxing after a good night work. He laughed. It looked happy.