O.K it is snowing outside in November and the Raptors are in Miami. What could make me feel better? Jose Calderon is playing. Yeah that works. Seems like a great way to wash away the memories of last night. I really think I saw 7 turnovers in my sleep last night. It was that bad last night vs the Magic. The Raptors need to get a move on. The Sixers are back on track after a slow start. The Knicks are actually o.k so far. Even the New Jersey Nets who will be in Toronto on Friday have not been all that bad. So it is time for the Raptors to get it on with Jose Calderon in the starting line-up on The Score.
I already feel better just knowing Jose is starting in this game. But let's hope he is at is best. The Raptors need him to be. Chris Bosh was coming off a monster performance and having Jose will help him maybe not have to work as hard.
So the Raptors get the tip and were off and running. Raptors missed there first attempt but got the offensive board and Andrea Bargnani turned that into 3 points.The Andrea Bargnani show was going early a block and a basket plus a foul which he would make. It was an early 6-2 lead for the Raptors all thanks to Bargnani. Jermaine O'Neal wanted in on the action and he made a turn around jumper down low. Heat would get a basket from Wade a steal and a Shawn Marion bucket. Jermaine O'Neal had a jam of an answer for that. Calderon drops a dime to the star of the show so far Andrea Bargnani with the dunk for 2. The Raptors were doubling the Heat early 12-6.
It is amazing how much better Sam Mitchell coaching is with Jose. Andrea Bargnani has 10 points and we still have over 7 minutes left in the quarter. J.O gets hooked up by Jose and this was looking good for the Raptors. This is the first time we have seen Jose Calderon working with this big 3 line up. He was making it look very good. The Raptors were doing it on both ends of the floor. They had a 17- 6 lead midway through the quarter. The Heat were trying to jack up shots with little success. They would finally hit a 3-ball and Sam Mitchell would have a time out to address that.
Out of the time out A.P tried to drive and score but he would miss. It was another slow start for A.P on offensive end. Dwyane Wade would score plus a foul and the Heat had climbed back in this game now trailing just 17-12. Jose Calderon would check out with 3:41 to play. Will Solomon was in for Calderon. Dwyane Wade was heating up he had another 2 points on a jumper in the corner. A.P was getting taken to school by Dwyane Wade. He had another basket on a drive and score. Raptors would than see the lead go away with a Shawn Marion score. The Heat had a 12-0 run to storm in front. But the Raptors would score 5 straight to take the lead back. The rookie Mario Chalmers would hit a 3 pointer and the Heat would make a couple from the line and pull back in front by 1. But Jamario Moon would score the final 3 points of the quarter with a jumper and 1-2 effort from the line. So the Raptors would have a slim lead of 25-23 after the 1st quarter.
The Raptors were much better with Jose back as the only had 3 turnovers after the first quarter. Chris Bosh was back for the start of the second and he wasted no time scoring a basket. Jason Kapono hit a 2-ball and the Raptors had 5 point advantage early with Dwyane Wade on the bench. Raptors had a defensive breakdown that lead to an open look at 3 points for the Heat they would make. Bosh and Kapono would both add two points for the Raptors. Meanwhile Michael Beasley would have a score but then an offensive foul which was his 3rd on the night. Jermaine O'Neal was in and he scored a basket to push the Raptor advantage to 38-31.Dwyane Wade had returned but he would miss a contested jumper.
Jose Calderon returned to action with a 7 point lead to work with. J.O would make that 9 with an offensive rebound and put back. After a few missed chance for both teams Dwyane Wade would drive and score. Andrea Bargnani made his first basket in awhile after his hot start. Shawn Marion would score, he was a non factor on Sunday afternoon but contributing tonight. Dwyane Wade was at the line looking to cut into the Raptor lead. He made one of two and Jason Kapono would score the other way and the Raptors lead 44-36. Andrea Bargnani was looking about as good as I can remember, he had another basket for14 points so far. Will Solomon was at the line as he had come in for Jose who had 3 fouls. He would go 1-2. Shawn Marion had another basket and the Raptors lead was 47-40.
Miami would have one last chance to score.The Raptors had a foul to give but instead they would have a basket and a foul attempt for Miami. The foul shot would be missed. So the Raptors would have 13.9 seconds to try to score. They would call a time out and set up something. But Andrea Bargnani had the ball stolen and Will Solomon got tagged with a clear path foul with 1.1 seconds left. Dwyane Wade could only hit 1 of 2. But because of the clear path the Heat had 1.1 seconds to try to get some more. Cook would throw up a desperate 3-ball that would not fall. The Raptors stumbled to halftime with a 47-43 lead.
The Raptors would need to be careful in the second half. Both Bosh and Calderon had 3 fouls each and were going to be needed to remain on the floor. Wade would start the half with an easy drive to the basket and score. An A.P miss would get turned around into an easy jam for Shawn Marion. But Andrea Bargnani made the tie score shot lived with a 3-ball. That was followed up by a Chris Bosh mid-range jumper. Andrea Bargnani was following that with another 3-ball, he had 20 and Raptors were on an 8-0 run after Miami had tied it. Udonis Haslem would end the Raptor run with a basket for the Heat.
Dwyane Wade was back at the line looking to cut more off that lead. He would go 2-2 and the score was 55-51. Anthony Parker who had been 0-5, would finally hit from 3 point range for the Raptors. Jose Calderon would make a 3-ball and bring the Raptor lead back to 8 points at 61-53. Parker was 2-2 from 3 point range after is slow start and Raptor lead was 11. That would get followed up by a Claderon jumper and the Raptors had their largest lead of the night. Miami was forced to burn a time out with score 66-53.
Shawn Marion would score off a Dwyane Wade pass out of the time out. Jermaine O'Neal had an answer for that with a basket. He was getting it done on the glass as well with 14 rebounds. A.P meanwhile was officially hot with his 3rd long range bomb. The Heat score a couple in a row and Sam Mitchell was not taking any chances he called timeout to try to put a stop to that.
Out of the time out Andrea Bargnani would draw foul from behind the arc on Shawn Marion. He would make them all and now had 23 on the evening. The Raptors had a 76-59 lead late in the third quarter. So who wants to trade Andrea Bargnani now? I am not getting on that list. Dwyane Wade hit a much needed 3 ball for the Miami Heat. He would score again with a driving runner and was heading to the line for one more. Wade had brought the Heat back to 10 points down. He would try to hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer but it would miss. The score after 3 quarters was 77-67 for the Raptors.
Raptors needed to contain Wade and keep it flowing on offense. If they could do those things they could escape Florida with a split for the 2 game trip. Dwyane Wade drove to the basket and had a poster worthy throw down. That was followed by another Shawn Marion Jam. Marion would get a technical for delay of game. But Kapono would miss the tech. Chris Bosh would not miss his jumper on the offense after the tech. But the Raptors once 17 point lead had dangerously shrunk to just 6 points. Shawn Marion had another basket and he had 20 points. Chris bosh would answer that basket with another for him. But Miami would get a big 3-ball from cook. Will Solomon was given a technical foul and the lead was down to 4. That would be cut to just 1 on a Chris Quinn 3 pointer. The Raptors were on the ropes and Jose Calderon was checking in for Solomon who had issues again tonight. I think unless something strange happened he would be on the bench for the rest of this one.
The Heat had a chance to take the lead and Dwyane Wade drove right up the gut and scored. The Raptors once huge lead was no more. The Miami crowd was chanting M.V.P for Wade and the Raptors were struggling as they took a shot clock violation. But Anthony Parker had taken back Parkerville court with another 3 pointer his 4th of the night. Raptors lead was 86-84 and they had the basketball looking to build a lead back. This looked a lot like Sundays game in some respects. Raptors were hoping for the same result. A.P this time with a fading two pointer that he made and the Raptors lead was up to 4. Chris Bosh would make that lead balloon to 6 points. Miami would get a basket only to see Andrea Bargnani drive to basket and score. J.O would reject Dwyane Wade but Miami would keep possession of the ball and Wade would hit a 3-ball. Raptors lead was just 3 points with score 92-89.
There was still 3:42 left to play and this game was very much up for grabs. Raptors coming out of a time out could not score. But a Quinn 3-ball would no fall for the Heat. But Raptors would not convert again and this time Wade would score. J.O would have an answer on the other end. Heat had the ball of a Raptor failed trip but Jose Calderon made a steal and would finish it with the score on the drive. That made the lead 5 points very late in the 4th. Would that be the play that would seal it up for the Raptors? Just over a minute to go. Dwyane Wade still had some fight with a basket. A.P would respond with a 3 pointer. Wade had another 2 pointer. The lead was 4 points. A Quinn miss and Raptor rebound by O'Neal ( his 16th) would be it perhaps. J.O was fouled but Miami was not over the limit. Parker would then be fouled with just 7.9 seconds remaining. What a remarkable turn around for A.P as he now had 19 points after that 0-5 shooting start. The score was 101-95. The Heat would get one last chance but they could not convert and that would be the final score. Raptors get the win and move to 6-5 with the win.
Some great performances from a lot of folks. Andrea Bargnani, Jermaine O'Neal and Anthony Parker all played big roles. But the difference of having Jose Calderon back was very obvious in every minute he was on the floor. For all the stats including the minutes check out the boxscore.
I will be back later tonight ( I will this time) to explain what has been going on around here for the last couple days. The time to let you all in on what is in store for the Dino Nation Blog. Tomorrow begins a new exciting era for the Dino Nation Blog and I hope you all will be excited about it. So enjoy this Raptor win and I will have the details of our big announcement. A day late but not a dollar short.