It wasn’t quite the start to the not-so-second half that the Raptors had in mind. Playing against a Memphis squad that was on the second night of a back to back, the team got down early in the first, but battled back and had control of the game with under a minute left. Five unanswered points in the last 40 seconds from the Grizz erased a 16pt fourth quarter from Chris Bosh and sent the game into Overtime. The Grizzlies looked every bit a team ready to take aim at a playoff spot in the extra frame. Mike Conely and a seemingly unstoppable Rudy Gay, snatched a victory away from Toronto in overtime, ending their eight game home winning streak.
The Zan for Three
Chris Bosh had a monster night for the Raps. He had 32 points and 10 boards on the night with 16 of them coming in the fourth quarter. It seemed Bosh had single handedly propelled his team to victory until the wheels fell off. Bargnani was the only other starter that scored in double digits. If the Raptors are going to win ball games, especially in the dying minutes of games, someone else is going to have to step up. Hedo, Jack and Derozan were not really factors and the Raps were thoroughly outscored in the first and third quarters. A better effort is needed from the starting five to give their All-Star a little help.
Trade? No Way, Jose!
Calderon did not play great defense on Rudy Gay at the end of the game and let Conely walk right in for the game tying points at the end of the fourth, but are you sure you want to hand the keys to this team to Jarrett Jack? No offense to Jack, he has had a great year thus far, but he is far from consistent. Jack was a non-factor tonight and it was Calderon that brought the team back in the second and fourth quarters. Without his effort off the bench this game would be a write-off. Calderon and Jack compliment each other well. When Jack is having an off night, Jose is there to take the lions’ share of minutes and vice versa. Not to mention Jose has made the second unit a force to reckoned with. If you subtract Jose from the equation; nights like tonight will be much, much worse. Hold on to the depth that has gotten you this far. You’re welcome, Mr. Colangelo.
Toronto is a hockey town, no matter how hard I wish for it to be otherwise. This team is beginning to find a personality that mirrors the city it represents. Amir diving for balls?, Antoine Wright getting stitched up and returning minutes later? These are the characteristics of fighters. Tonight the second unit fought for the victory outscoring the Memphis bench 43-9. The Raps may not have come out on top, but that kind of effort from your bench gives you reason to believe the team is almost ready for the fight of a playoff series. That, is of course, if the starters can get their act together.
Zan of the Night
Rudy Gay. The Man was unstoppable and his shot was falling. He was the difference maker, especially down the stretch, and the Raptors had no answer for him. Chris Bosh also deserves mention as he was a one man team in the fourth quarter and deserved better support from his starting unit.
Not Zan of the Night
Hedo. I don’t know if it is the mask or ball or whatever, but this guy needs to step up. Like yesterday. He is a key to our fortunes down the stretch and into the playoffs and if he is going to play like this: He can take his ball and go home.
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***Kristoffer Pedlar The Zan Tabak Herald