The Toronto Raptors surprised the Dallas Mavericks by repeatedly coming from behind, making unlikely shots and pulling out their first overtime win of the season on their fourth try.
The first quarter saw the Raps unable to slow down the Mavs’ versatile offense, which cashed in a number of easy buckets to lead by 11, then by 19 partway through Q2. A Dwane Casey timeout, and a tongue lashing, was the tonic the Raps needed. Complacent Mavs fans, accustomed to seeing their squad blow out almost all visiting teams, were deeply unsettled to watch as Toronto rediscovered the merits of tough defense. Within 8 minutes the Raps had wiped out the deficit, and even nosed ahead briefly. A Monte Ellis 3-point play gave Dallas the lead at intermission.
DeMar DeRozan, whose jump shots hadn’t been falling but had been dishing for assists, starting to find his range in a seesaw Q3. Terrence Ross, the receiver of several of DD’s fine passes, hit the last of his three 3-pointers to keep the Raps close, even though “Last Shot” Ellis made another at the buzzer.
The Raps scored the first 11 points of Q4, but couldn’t sustain their momentum. Jose Calderon, always astute when picking his time to score, made a layup, then three straight 3s to pull his current team a point ahead of his former. The lead wasn’t safe for either team, but when Shawn Marion hit a floater with 20 seconds left, the Raps seemed out of chances. Not so fast…DD buried a contested jumper from the foul line, Dirk Nowitzki’s off-balance shot was short, and we were off to another overtime.
The OT was like regular time – back and forth. DD hit a jumper with 71 seconds to play, which turned out to be the game’s final points when Ellis’ runner hit back iron at the buzzer.
The Raps’ front court had a huge hand in this unlikely victory. Jonas Valanciunas was a force all night, with 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Amir Johnson had 15 points, hit one of his rare 3s, and made 3 steals. Patrick Patterson once again chipped in with points, boards and harassing defense. Top scorer was Kyle Lowry with 20, though his 6 assists trailed DD’s 9. Both teams shot well from behind the arc, attempting 21 shots, Toronto making 11 and Dallas 10. More mirrored stats: 15 turnovers (6 from Vince Carter!), and 3 blocks. Even rebounds were almost a reflection – Toronto’46 boards were only one more than Dallas’.
Toronto continues its trip through the U.S. southwest with a visit on Sunday to Oklahoma City.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor 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.
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