In a see-saw game, with 21 lead changes and 11 ties, the Toronto Raptors continued their admirable trend of “winning” the fourth quarter. A late 14-2 run was more than enough for the Raps to overhaul the Golden State Warriors, and finally defeat Stephen Curry on the eighth try. DeMar DeRozan enjoyed another game in beast mode, scoring 12 of his team-leading 32 points in Q4.
DD’s contribution was urgently needed, because Terrence Ross’s twisted ankle was judged at game time to be too badly injured, so he didn’t dress. That exigency forced coach Dwane Casey to insert the NBA’s most expensive ghost, Landry Fields, into the starting lineup. Landry had a respectable effort under the circumstances, with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Casey received solid performances from all his players, in fact, as there was a lot of burn for everyone. Patrick (2-pat) Patterson couldn’t find his outside stroke early, but came up big in the winning rally. He had 12 points, one fewer than Kyle Lowry, whose shooting woes continued. He missed all 7 field goal attempts inside the arc, but made 3 of 6 outside, and handed out 8 assists. Jonas Valanciunas had an excellent start to his game, scoring 8 points in 6 minutes, but was taken out shortly after. Casey’s short leash with JV makes me scratch my head, a lot. John Salmons, like Lowry, is in a shooting slump, but was draped all over Curry in crunch time.
Canada Customs, in a conspiracy with the Raps, wouldn’t allow Jermaine O’Neal to cross the border [20-second timeout: To humourless bureaucrats - that's a joke, OK? Don't send the RCMP to my door.] As we were down a player (Ross), it only seemed fair. The Warriors missed him; they played virtually the entire game with only 6 men. Curry and David Lee both racked up more than 43 minutes – did fatigue contribute to their team’s Q4 demise? Klay Thompson’s shooting was off, much to our team’s relief. He was just 4 of 15, and doesn’t have much to contribute if he’s not scoring. Holding centre Andrew Bogut to 4 points was another key to this victory, as was the welcome sight of only 9 turnovers.
Toronto gets a significant break, with their next game not until Friday against Sacramento. Let’s hope by then all our banged-up troops are at full strength.