The Raps allowed another home game victory to slip away in the dying minutes of Q4, then couldn’t get any stops in triple overtime. The result was another depressing defeat, dropping their record to 1-6. Are Raps fans, who have had it up to here with moral victories, a.k.a. losses, going to start clamouring for heads to roll?
The early part of the game saw the Raps shooting very well, en route to several 8-point leads. The ball stop dropping, & the Jazz chipped away, led by Paul Millsap [20 second timeout: this guy was the NCAA rebounding leader 3 straight years, & the Jazz grabbed him with the 47th pick; Bryan Colangelo, with the 35th pick, passed on him in favour of P.J. Tucker] who bombed away from outside & in on his way to 34 points. The second quarter belonged to the Raps’ International Man of Mystery, Linas Kleiza, who poured in 17 of his 20 points. The Jazz still wouldn’t go away, & the Raps, who counted 57 points in the half, led by just 5.
The teams split 60 Q3 points, as DeMar DeRozan continued to drive & jump shoot his way to 37 points. His extraordinary stat line, compiled in a hour(!) of playing time, included 16/33 shooting despite relentless coverage, 8 boards & 6 assists. He’s becoming a man before our eyes.
In Q4, matters went from in-hand to Oh-my-God-No in 7 minutes. With that amount of time to play, Amir Johnson’s hook shot propelled the Raps to an 11 point bulge, after which the wheels fell off. The Raps clung to a 3-point lead with 2 seconds on the clock when Al Jefferson’s desperation shot from distance rattled out, then in, at the buzzer. Overtime – how can this be? After 1OT settled nothing, it was Utah’s turn to be up 3 when John Lucas’ shot off a well-conceived out of bounds play splashed. Finally, in 3OT the Jazz would not be denied, outscoring the Raps 15-8.
What went right for the home side? Kleiza’s fine work is long overdue; will it take 5 more games to repeat? Lucas’ 3/6 shooting probably salvages his Raptor tenure. DeRozan’s superb game deserves a second mention. Jose Calderon dished out 17 dimes, & scored 20 points; he is a credit to his team & to the game of basketball, & I hope he never leaves our city. Bargnani had 19, but 5/17 is disappointing.
No time for healing – the lads are off to Indiana. Let’s hope they bond, & turn this season around.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.