The Toronto Raptors do not appear to miss DeMar DeRozan.
At 21-5, Toronto has the best record in the NBA after jettisoning its four-time All-Star to the San Antonio Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard over the summer. The Spurs, however, are not close to last year's 47-win team that played most of the season without an injured Leonard. After their Wednesday night 121-113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio (11-14) has the second-worst record in the Western Conference.
"It's frustrating. This organization hasn't lost like this—I haven't lost like this—in a while," DeRozan said. "So close against so many great teams, and [then losing] a few games in an embarrassing way sucks. But we're all grown men. We have to understand the beauty of adversity is how you get out of it."
The Spurs gave the Lakers all they could handle for three quarters before allowing 43 points to LeBron James and his teammates in the final period. The night before, they lost by 34 points in Utah to the Jazz. Last week, San Antonio was outscored by a combined 70 points in losses to the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves in back-to-back games.
"This sucks like hell to lose, especially when everybody is fighting so hard," DeRozan said. "Luck is going to go our way. Everything is going to go our way ... we've got to say positive and understand that as long as we keep at it, the basketball gods are going to turn in our favor."
DeRozan might be an easy scapegoat for the Spurs' struggles, especially with Leonard and the Raptors flourishing, but this isn't all on the 10th-year veteran.