SAN ANTONIO – Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, who turned 21 last month, is growing up in a hurry.
Murray is quickly developing into a force in just his second NBA season, tormenting opponents with his 7-foot wingspan and court instincts.
Murray took another big step in his development Monday night, finishing with a game-high 14 rebounds and scoring 15 points in the Spurs 101-97 victory against Toronto before a sellout crowd of 18,418.
“Of course, man,” Murray said, when asked if he had fun. “I’m having fun. I’m getting better, I’m learning. They tell us we have to have fun. We’re doing what we love to do.”
Murray now has 10-plus rebounds in two of three games this season. He is the first Spurs point guard to record multiple double-digit games in a season since Rod Strickland’s two in 1989-90. The double-double Monday night was the first of Murray’s NBA career.
“Maybe he’s watching Westbrook or something,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, referring to Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook, last season's MVP.
Murray added six assists and played well on both ends of the court. Guarded primarily by Murray, Raptors guard Kyle Murray finished with only eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Selected by the Spurs with the No. 29 pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, Murray turned pro after only one season at the University of Washington.
“Impressive,” veteran guard Manu Ginobili said of Murray’s 14-rebound game. “At one point I checked at halftime and I think it was nine, and it surprised me. He is amazing. His activity, getting to the rebounds, passing lanes, steals, getting all the way to the basket, finding teammates, he is off the charts.”
The Spurs improved to 3-0 and the Raptors slipped to 2-1.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the San Antonio scoring for the third consecutive game, finishing with 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Danny Green (17), Rudy Gay (11) and Kyle Anderson (10) rounded out the Silver and Black’s double-figure scoring. Green also tied his career high with five blocks.
Aldridge and Toronto forward Serge Ibaka got a brief scuffle in the paint after Green made a basket to give the Spurs a 92-85 lead with 3:36 left. Aldridge and Ibaka both were given technicals.
Aldridge downplayed the shoving match after the game.
“Just playing basketball and things happen,” he said. “Both guys competing and things get heated at times. It happened. Let’s move past it.”
Aldridge got the last shot in against Ibaka, converting a three-point play after getting fouled by him with 1:48 remaining. Aldridge’s free throw put the Silver and Black up 97-87 with 1:48 remaining.
Final score: Spurs 101, Raptors 97
Records: Spurs 3-0, Raptors 2-1
Raptors' double-figure scorers: DeMar DeRozan 28 (10/20 overall, 2/5 from 3-point line), Serge Ibaka 13 (5/10), C.J. Miles 13 (4/9, 3/7), Jacob Poeltl 10 (4/5).
Spurs' double-figure scorers: LaMarcus Aldridge 20 (7/16), Danny Green 17 (6/15, 3/8), Dejounte Murray 16 (6/12), Rudy Gay 11 (5/8, 1/2), Kyle Anderson 10 (4/9).
Raptors' team shooting: 42.5 percent (34/80), 26.3 percent (10/38) from three-point line
Spurs' team shooting: 44.4 percent (40/90), 25 percent (5/20) from three-point line
Raptors' rebounding: 34 (Jacob Poeltl 12)
Spurs' rebounding: 55 (Dejounte Murray 14)
Raptors' assists: 17 (Norman Powell, DeMar DeRozan, Fred VanVleet, 4)
Spurs' assists: 19 (Dejounte Murray 6)
Quotes from the Raptors locker room
Coach Dwane Casey: “The rebounding was huge issue tonight. They had 18 offensive rebounds for 20, 22 points. You know we worked our butts off too hard to give up second shots and second attempts, and give up that many second-chance points. I thought we did some positive things tonight against one of the best teams in the league, but close doesn’t count.”
Guard DeMar DeRozan: “It got away from us. They got some big offensive rebounds. They had some pull backs that definitely killed us. We turned the ball over a few times. We didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to convert, and they took advantage.”
Center Jakob Poeltl: “They were sending three or four guys to the glass on almost every single play. Looking back at it, we can’t change it now, but we just have to come back from it and be better in the future if there are going to be teams that send a lot of guys to the glass.”
Quotes from the Spurs locker room
Coach Gregg Popovich: “Just an overall good win against a really well-coached, disciplined team that has a lot of expectations, and it was good for our confidence, since we are trying to put some things together.”
Point guard Dejounte Murray: “I just want to win. I have that winning DNA, and I just do anything to win. If I don’t score a point, I’m going to go get a rebound. If I don’t rebound, I am going to try to facilitate or go play defense. That is a thing that you’ve got to do. You have to be able to do things that you can’t do when you’re not having a good night.”
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili: “They are good. They are aggressive and they attack the ball. They don’t wait for things to happen. It is great for us to face a team like that this early. This is a good, solid team, with a lot of strong, athletic bodies out there. It was great. This game made us better.”
Up next for the Spurs: at Miami Heat, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Next home game for the Spurs: vs. Golden State Warriors, Thursday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m. AT&T Center
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