Originally written December 27, 2012 on Project Spurs:
Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey has seen and coached more than enough teams to know which ones have what it takes to execute down the stretch in clutch situations. His young Raptors were on a five-game winning streak against a seasoned older San Antonio Spurs team and it didn't really surprise him who came out on top of last night's game. In a post game interview, Casey praised San Antonio's composure down the stretch. "I know what composure is and it comes down to experience. This team (Spurs) has been together forever, you have hall-of Famers in (Manu) Ginobili, (Tim) Duncan, and (Tony) Parker. It is a huge difference and our guys are trying to learn to keep their composure through those tough stretches." Toronto has a young team nucleus led by DeMar DeRozan and their inexperienced showed. The Spurs have had this Big 3 core together since the start of the 2002-2003 NBA season and the older they've gotten together, the smarter they've come to play alongside each other. With all three over 30 years old (Duncan and Ginobili at 36 and 35 respectively), their game has developed into a smarter one in which they can compliment each other and also try to seal a game as fast as they can without taking hard bumps or fouls. These three men leading the team has also given the younger players on this squad a greater level of comfort and it has showed with Danny Green's remarkable shooting and Kawhi Leonard's solid defense since returning from injury. That'll be the difference from last night's game through a stretch of five minutes or so: a team with virtually no experience in the big moments facing a team with a core that's not afraid of "the moment" once the ball is tipped off.
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