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Kawhi Leonard scores 25 as Spurs throttle Raptors, 110-82

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kawhi Leonard had 25 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 and the San Antonio Spurs beat Toronto 110-82 on Tuesday night, holding the Raptors to their lowest score of the season.

San Antonio dominated a matchup of teams with the second-best record in each conference, leading by as many as 34 points.

Leonard and Aldridge combined to shoot 19 for 28 from the field, but it was veteran point guard Tony Parker who set the tone for the Spurs.

Parker finished with 15 points and eight assists in 23 minutes.

After scoring the game’s opening basket on a floater, Parker drove the lane and tossed the ball out to Aldridge and Pau Gasol for mid-range jumpers and to Danny Green for a 3-pointer.

The Spurs raced to a 26-10 lead in the opening eight minutes, and the Raptors never recovered.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 26 points, but backcourt mate Kyle Lowry was held to six on 2-for-9 shooting.

San Antonio fizzled when Parker exited for rest, going scoreless for 5:13 bridging the first and second quarters.

Parker’s return helped set up three straight dynamic plays that put the Raptors on their heels and gave the Spurs their largest lead at 54-32 with 2:28 left in the first half.

Green’s steal and half-court pass led to a one-handed, breakaway dunk for Leonard that revved up the sold-out crowd.

Parker dribbled around his back on the run to lose Lowry at the top of the 3-point line, got DeRozan to leap in the paint and then whipped a pass to the left corner for a 3-pointer from Leonard.

Parker then passed under the basket to Aldridge, who tossed it out to Leonard. He faked a shot, dribbled, reset and made a 3 for a 22-point lead.

The Raptors shot 37 percent from the field while failing to reach 90 points for the first time this season.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Toronto is winless against the NBA’s top three teams, losing three games to Cleveland and two to Golden State before falling to San Antonio. . The Raptors scored a previous season-low 91 points in three games, with the most recent being Dec. 29 at Phoenix. . F Patrick Patterson missed his second straight game with a strained left knee. . Toronto last won in San Antonio on Dec. 28, 2007.

Spurs: Leonard has scored in double figures in 67 straight games. Tim Duncan, who retired after last season, holds the franchise record with 75 in a row from 2005-06. . Aldridge has 12 3-pointers in 31 games this season, the second-highest total of his career. Aldridge had 37 in 2015, his final season in Portland. . San Antonio matched the third-best start after 35 games in franchise history at 28-7. The team’s best start was 29-6, set in 2011 and matched last season.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Host the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

Spurs: At the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

PBT Extra: Three things to watch with Boston in wake of Hayward injury

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Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.

What next for Boston?

In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.

Gordon Hayward addresses Celtics and fans from hospital bed (video)

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Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.

Hayward:

What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.

At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.

And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.

76ers coach Brett Brown: Joel Embiid’s minute restriction could quickly rise

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Joel Embiid‘s minute limit of below 20 bummed out everyone (especially Embiid).

But good news could be on the way.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

The 76ers look like a borderline playoff team, Embiid’s health the biggest variable. There’s a direct correlation between his ability to stay on the court and Philadelphia’s postseason chances.

Plus, he’s just so darn fun to watch. The more he plays, the bigger victory it is for every viewer not rooting for the 76ers’ opponent that night.

Report: Bucks have offered second-round pick as enticement for Rashad Vaughn trade

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John Henson was on the trade block. Greg Monroe seems permanently affixed there.

Another player the Bucks apparently want to deal? Rashad Vaughn, who was the No. 17 pick in 2015.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Milwaukee has been working to trade several players to clear salary-cap space, including guard Rashad Vaughn and center John Henson, league sources said. The Bucks have been willing to attach a second-round pick in offers for Vaughn, league sources said.

It’s unclear whether the Bucks are still as motivated to move Vaughn. They slid under the luxury-tax line by stretching Spencer Hawes. One-time target Richard Jefferson already signed with the Nuggets. A roster vacancy and cap savings might not matter as much anymore to Milwaukee.

But Vaughn has struggled in two NBA seasons. The Bucks might be better off trying to develop someone else, even a D-League player, over the 21-year-old Vaugh.

Vaughn is due $1,889,040 this season. He faces a $2,901,565 team option for next season, which his team must decide on by Oct. 31. It seems unlikely that will be exercised.

This is what happens when you draft players for the wrong reason.