The Toronto Raptors used a huge fourth quarter and 6 players scoring in double digits to battle back for a big win; their second in a row. The ACC crowd erupted regularly in the last few minutes of the game as Jarrett Jack drove the lane fearlessly, Bargnani came up with huge blocks and Hedo Turkoglu hit a couple of big shots and had a key offensive rebound at the end. It wasn’t pretty and they looked tired for much of the game but the Raps played as a complete unit in the fourth and were able to snatch victory from the clutches of defeat.
The Zan for Three
Leadership at the Right Time
The Raptors were looking a little lost offensively and wasted many offensive possessions. Players were taking ill-advised shots early in the clock and were not looking for their teammates. Washington took full advantge of these miscues and built up a comfortable lead. When Jarrett Jack re-entred the game in the fouth quarter everything changed. The Raptors were looking for their teammates, taking confident shots and their defensive intensity went through the roof. Jack willed this team to victory tonight. He made many smart plays and chose to drive the net instead of settling for jumpers in that crucial fourth. Jack was the captain tonight and victory was his destination.
Where was the intensity for three and a half quarters? The Raptors looked lackidaisical on defense and Andray Blatche took full advantage. The Raptors dialed it in during the fourth quarter and completely shut the Wizards down. Andrea Bargnani had huge blocks in the fourth quarter that changed the momentum in favour of the Raptors. Antoine Wright made adjustments in the second quarter and took Josh Howard out of the game in the second half. Hedo Turkoglu came up with a huge offensive rebound in the dying minutes and the Raptors forced a key 24 second violation near the end as well. The Raptors used strong team defense and Triano made smart defensive substitutions at the end of the ball game.
Rocking at the ACC!
How intense was the crowd at the end of the ball game? Obviously Toronto sports enthusiasts are used to a raucous crowd during intense Leaf games on a Saturday night. Let’s be honest, there hasn’t been many of them this year. But the crowd was doing the wave during a basketball game and was up on their feet for much of the end of the game. The “Defense” chants were especially loud and the team played their part. The crowd was a key intangible tonight.
Plus the Foul…
Hedo Turkoglu played a strong game. He was especially strong in the fourth quarter. He made smart shots and played through pain. He was fairly or unfairly criticized after his 1pt night against the Grizzlies, but he came to play tonight. He was a difference maker out there with the mask or without the mask. Way to go Hedo! Ball!
Zan of the Night
Jarrett Jack. He led the team to victory in the fourth controlling the tempo at the right time and charging up the crowd and his teamates with his fearless determination. Antoine Wright deserves praise as well for a solid game on both ends of the floor and for taking Josh Howard out of the game.
Not Zan of the Night
The Wave. The wave at a basketball game? Don’t get me wrong, I loved the enthusiasm of the crowd, but why? Toronto basketball fans sometimes confuse me with their passion for pizza and their overzealous booing at times, but this is new. I hope it doesn’t become a trend. But an A for energy.
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***Kristoffer Pedlar The Zan Tabak Herald