It was everything you wanted in a basketball game. Whether you are driving the tank this season or still cheering for little victories, this game had something for everyone.
The Toronto Raptors used a complete team effort to battle back from an 18 point deficit to overcome the Utah Jazz in double overtime for their second straight victory.
The Raptors used team defense, timely shooting and grit to come away with a well-earned win.
The biggest winner on the night was anyone that stayed up to watch the end of the game. Fans were rewarded with a back and forth battle that gave fans two quarters of free basketball. Nothing wrong with that.
Hopefully the win wasn’t costly as Andrea Bargnani left the game after re-aggravating his calf injury and was later seen on crutches. Hopefully he will be back, he clearly makes a big difference.
Zan for Three
Night and Day
This team is completely different when Andrea Bargnani is on the floor. He gives them direction and is an absolute force on the offensive end this season. Everything he has ever been in our minds over the last few years, he is turning into on the court.
He is shooting the lights out, driving the ball and driving defenders bananas as he draws them inside and out. Teams can’t guard him and he isn’t allowing them to contain him either.
The best sign for Raptor fans actually came when Andrea re-aggravated his calf injury late in the game. He was pulled from the game and looked absolutely irate. He sported a death stare for a while and slammed his towel on the bench. This might not seem like something to get excited about, but when was the last time you saw that much emotion from Il Mago?
If he is the star for this team going forward, and I think that he is, then this is exactly what you want to see your leader do when he has to sit on the bench.
Love the emotion!
Playing to Potential
Bryan Colangelo sold us on a lot of these players over the last few seasons. James Johnson’s grit and intangibles, Amir Johnson’s size and defensive presence, Calderon’s ability to get to the rim, Kleiza’s hot shooting and Demar’s ability to drive.
These are qualities we have seen only flashes of over the last couple of seasons. Tonight it was all there. It was incredible to watch players do what they are supposed to do on paper.
Jose drove the ball, Demar got to the line,Kleiza shot the lights out and James Johnson battled all night long. This was a complete team effort tonight and when all cylinders are firing. This team is tough to beat when they are all playing the way they are capable of.
Dwane Casey you might just be on to something here.
Linas Kleiza was a big Colangelo acquisition an off-season ago. He went into the 2010 World Championships and looked dominant shooting the ball and leading Lithuania to a thrid place finish. Then he here and was flat. He didn’t shoot the ball well, didn’t defend well an eventually lost is start SF spot before having his season shortened by injury. He never reached the potential that we had seen or heard about.
Since coming back from injury Kleiza has ben getting better and better and is beginning to show flashes of that player we saw in the world championships in 2010 for Lithuania.
This guy can shoot. He can be a dominant force for this team. And I’m looking forward to a whole lot more of what we saw Wednesday night because he is finally beginning to look like a player the raptors might want to keep around.
Zan of the Night
No Question. When Bargnani went out with an injury, Linas stepped up in a major way hitting big shots in the extra periods. He had ice in his veins and seemed confident every time he touched the ball. The Jazz couldn’t stop him, especially in the extra frame and his defensive energy in OT helped clinch the victory.
Not Zan of the Night
Just couldn’t get anything to fall despite the continued effort. Not a great night at the office for him, but when you’re a shooter you have to ride the wave.
An honourable mention to Ed Davis once again for helping cement his spot in the doghouse. You have to make the most of your time on the floor, especially when it is limited. Amir gets this, Ed does not.
I’m also upset with him because I have him on my fantasy team. If not for Ed Davis I’d look like a genius. It’s time to pick up the slack my friend. For you, and for me.
The Zan Tabak Herald
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