TORONTO - A crucial turnover brought a sour end to DeMar DeRozan’s first game back in Toronto.
Kawhi Leonard stole the ball from DeRozan to score the go-ahead dunk with 15 seconds left and the Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs 120-117 on Friday night, spoiling the former Toronto star’s return to Canada.
“Tonight was like a playoff game,” Leonard said. “We had to grind it out all the way to the end.”
Leonard scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half, and combined with Kyle Lowry to strip DeRozan at midcourt before racing in alone for a one-handed slam.
“I knew they were going to be aggressive, trying to make a play on the ball and then foul,” DeRozan said. “I’ve just got to be more aware.”
Traded to San Antonio in the offseason deal that sent Leonard to Toronto, DeRozan received a warm welcome but was denied a second victory over his former team. He finished with 23 points.
Lowry and DeRozan embraced near center court following the final whistle as the sellout crowd of 20,058 cheered its approval.
Fans rose for a standing ovation when DeRozan and the Spurs jogged out for pregame warmups, and were on their feet again when San Antonio’s starters were introduced.
The longest, loudest cheer came after a tribute video that ran during the first timeout. With the crowd roaring, DeRozan got up from the bench and walked onto the court, acknowledging the fans with several waves.
“To come back here and get a reception like that is definitely humbling, beyond gratifying,” DeRozan said. “I appreciate it.”
Pascal Siakam scored 22 points to help Toronto win its seventh straight game. Kyle Lowry and Danny Green each had 17 in the victory.
Marco Belinelli scored 21 points for San Antonio. The Spurs have lost five of six.
In other games
Timberwolves 115, Knicks 104
Nuggets 114, Mavericks 104
Pistons 125, Hawks 122
Pacers 126, Pelicans 111
Hornets 123, Wizards 110
Bulls 110, Magic 109
Clippers 112, Grizzlies 106