11/12/10

It Was a Magical Night But Not How You Think.

The Raptors would be hard pressed to find a tougher back to back in the NBA. The Magic are a good basketball team and have solid coaching in Stan Van Gundy. This is not going to be easy at all. When you add the fact of no Barbosa or Kleiza and some other banged up bodies in Jarret Jack and Reggie Evans. Hope fades even further.

But Raps were looking decent early and hanging with the Magic. They got a 8-0 run that sparked and gave them a 13-9 lead, and that was enough for SVG to want to vent to his team during a timeout. Raptors were going with a zone which has been effective against Orlando recently but zone is not great against the 3 point shot. foreshadowing of an Orlando 3 to take the lead. Good early sign as Demar gets to the line and makes his free throws. This was a back and forth affair and it was tied at 22. Another SVG time out and Stan was not a happy man at all. This was a battle and quite honestly an unexpected on tied at 28 with 1:20 to play in the first. Amir Johnson had come in for Evans and was doing a heck of a job early and keeping the foul magnet deactivated. Raps 3 point defence was leaking badly though and Pietrus hit an open look to give the Magic a 1 point lead. Joey Dorsey gets to the line and could give the Raps the lead with 2.3 left in first. But missed both and Magic lead 31-30 after 1.

Raps shot 63% from the field in that 1st Quarter and still were down 1. Dwight Howard got a lot more from Hakeem then the Raptors ever did and he shows some of his new stuff for a pretty lay-up. Defence was just not happening in this game as teams were trading baskets like this was a tennis match. Magic held a 37-34 lead when we reached the first T.V Timeout. Raptors would get it rolling and pass the Magic and build their own 3 point lead. Magic were 1 for there last 5 shots. Magic nail a 3 and it is 40 all. Heir Canada takes it at Air Canada and scores and is fouled couldn't convert and 1. Note to the Raptor defence cover Pietrus they weren't and he nails another 3. Andrea Bargnani had 18 first half points. But still Raptors can only manage to be tied at 54. But he was not done hit a 3 to make it 21. Bad D on the other end and tied at 59. Evans draws a charge to close the half basically with .2 seconds left. All even at 59.

Turnover out of the half that is not ideal for the men in red. But Evans comes up with it on other end and Jack a pull up foul line J. Who is that bearded man? V.C that is who it was and he answers. This was a knock down drag out fight and the Raptors might be under manned but it was not stopping them. It might even be helping them forcing some new combos to play on the floor. Bargnani was cooling off though and that is a bit of a concern but was still close 70-68 Magic. But the Raps were not going away in fact they re-took the lead 75-72. The Raptors were not going away a Calderon 3...and then a Johnson bucket the largest lead of night 82-76. The Raptors would take a 89-82 lead to the 4th.

We have seen the Raptors take leads to the 4th before. Not just this year but in many years the Raptors have not been the best closers in the world. So it was nervous time and the Magic would make it close. But for whatever reason the Raptors would not give up on this night. Weems with a huge clutch 3 set the table for a Raptor win. Earning that nickname Money Weems. It would come down Demar Derozan bring down the hammer looking almost V.C like. He had tied his career high and had a chance to improve on that in a very clutch situation. Up two points and heading to the line for 2. Demar stepped to the line and drained them. A new career high of 26. A Jose Calderon steal as well. Amazing. The Raptors had almost been owed something from the basketball Gods. They head to Miami snapping a 6 game losing streak with a 110-106 win over the Magic. If I had not seen it for myself I would doubt it too. But THIS HAPPENED.

On to Miami to face this guy who I had a little fun with during the game. Bargnani had 27 with only 6 in the second half and Demar DeRozan had as mentioned a career high 26.

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