This strange season finally delivered a pleasant surprise, after unremitting bad news. The Raps found a team they could beat, as the Dallas Mavericks looked uninterested from the get-go. A cobbled-together Raps lineup bent but didn’t break after taking a substantial lead in Q2. Going into Q4 with a 14-point lead looked like a recipe for another disaster, but Linas Kleiza found his shot from distance, & the Raps coasted home.
The Raps were overdue for a match against a team having a bad night. Dallas led by a point after Q1, as Chris Kaman shot well, but the Mavs’ offense then disappeared. In the meantime, Coach Casey gave Terrence Ross some burn, & the rookie started to do what he was drafted for. He scored on emphatic dunks, and made his jumpers, which he must do to stay on the floor. Even missing an uncontested layup like he did couldn’t spoil the enjoyment of the young man’s fine showing. DeMar DeRozan was picking his spots to shoot like the seasoned pro he has become, ending 6/13 for 14 points. Meanwhile the Mavs were frantically subbing in & out as Coach Carlisle desperately tried to find someone with a hot hand. Normally reliable gunners like O.J. Mayo & Derek Fisher were off the mark. The Mavs streak of 1,108 games with a 3-ball ended, as they were donut for 13.
Q3 provided dreary efforts from both teams. After Mikeal Pietrus slashed between defenders for an excellent 3-point play, the Raps offense went into that hibernation we’ve seen so often this season. It took 5+ minutes for the Raps’ next bucket, a 3-ball by Jose Calderon. The Mavs couldn’t take advantage, however, & the Raps actually picked up a point despite only scoring 15.
Once Kleiza starting draining 3s from all around the arc in Q4, the game become a rout, something the ACC fans haven’t enjoyed all season. Adding to the fun, Vince Carter, being booed as always, managed one bucket on 8 shots (several of which were laughably astray).
Ed Davis didn’t dominate against the likes of big-bodied Kaman, but did pull down 8 boards & had 3 baskets. A statistical oddity: Calderon didn’t lead the team in assists (John Lucas had 6) but blocked more shots (2) than anyone else. He also scored 14.
Houston is in town Sunday, so we’ll have our own version of Lin-sanity to spice up what should be a competitive match.
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.