Based on how this game started it sure didn't look like it would be a significant night. The Raptors continued the not so great tradition under Dwane Casey of coming out flat in the first quarter. Given the fact the Jazz had been off since Saturday this was a terrible sign. But the Jazz were short handed as Al Jefferson would be scratched prior to game time. The Jazz seemed to have a game plan to run the Raptors into the ground. A sound strategy given they were the fresher team. They would push the ball at every opportunity and the Raptors looked like a tired bunch early in this one. Raptors would rally after being down by as much as 18 in the first to make it a 32-23 game after one.
The little Raptor train would not stop chugging. As I was all a long thinking I don't think they can, I don't think they can, they would keep on saying yes we can. Eventually this would have to catch up with them right? They would get close and knock on the door to taking the lead many times only to have the Jazz answer. The Raptors had never led in this game and I was convinced it would remain that way. Andrea Bargnani was off to a slow start but like the night before would get things going eventually. Demar DeRozan was fairly erratic throughout this game. We saw some good moments for Demar and some bad ones. Jose Calderon was having a terrible scoring night but that would change later in the night. Andrea Bargnani would finally give the Raptors the lead with three to put the Raptors up 50-48. Jazz would tie it and look to take the lead before the half but James Johnson would have one of his 6 blocks on the night which was 4 more blocks than he had points. But he was a defensive difference maker. Raps and Jazz were all even at 50 at the halftime break.
It may have been 50/50 at the half but you didn't think that was the Raptors odds of winning this one? Jazz were the rested team and you figured eventually that would show. A fumble and turnover by Andrea Bargnani and a bad foul by DeRozan was part of the Jazz having a 7-2 run to start the half. But the Raptors would score the next six and take the lead again at 58-57. Jose Calderon would finally score with 7:40ish left in the 3rd for his first points of the evening but he would get more later and some key ones. It was a hard fought 3rd quarter but when it was done the Jazz had a 75-69 lead and you had to figure would pull away and finally put this to bed.
Amir Johnson baby steps to getting of Dwane Casey's doghouse began with a block on Kanter to start the 4th quarter. Kanter by the way is God awful he has a Hoffa like game. Raptors would battle hard and in the late stages were down 86-83 in a rough and tumble 4th quarter. Linas Kleiza would make a couple free throws to make it a one point game with a minute to play. Jazz score and a Bargnani answer and it was 88-87. Jazz reestablished a three point lead but then with 13 seconds left Jose Calderon nails a three ball to tie this game up at 90. Raptors would get the stop they needed and unexpectedly this game was going to overtime.
Last time the Raptors were in an overtime game it was not even in North America. It was a triple OT thriller with the Nets in London England. Which was a loss if you forget. Calderon tied this thing at end of regulation and on a drive would give the Raptors the lead. Then Calderon dropped a dime to Linas Kleiza in the corner for 3 and Raptors had a 95-90 lead. Calderon turnover later on would give the Jazz a break away dunk and the lead was back to just 2. Millsap a tap in over Bargnani tied it. You think that is the bad news but it wasn't the Raptors had to call a time out. Andrea Bargnani had re-injured his calf and would be done for the night. After this game was over he would say that this time the injury to his calf was in his words "much worse". But Raptors would fight on without him as Kleiza out of the time out hit a dagger three. But the Jazz would nail their own 3 with just 3 seconds left in the 1st overtime and tied this game at 100.
Raptors heading to a second OT and Bargnani not an option? At this point they had to be done right? Not exactly the Raptors who in games without Bargnani in first injury were terrible, would be at least for the rest of this night inspired. A Linas Kleiza air ball in the start of OT sure didn't give you an indication that is what would happen but nothing was sticking to the script tonight. A Demar DeRozan free throw would but the Raptors on top 104-103 and they would not trail again. A long two from Kleiza and a huge 3 from Calderon was in the end enough to seal it. Raptors get the thrilling 111-106 win in double OT.
Bargnani had 25 points and Kleiza the same 25 points off the bench. But this was a team win through and through. Unfortunately the loss of Bargnani which on surface seems for an even longer stretch hangs over this win like a dark ominous storm cloud. But let's reflect on what the Raptors have done in the last two nights snapping a 14 game losing streak to the Suns and 12 game losing streak to the Jazz. That is pretty amazing. The biggest part to both of those wins though will be getting an MRI in Denver and is not going to be around to try and make it 3 in a row. It will be interesting to see if the rest of this team can still rally from the confidence gained from these two wins. Maybe not as much in Denver on Friday but in New Jersey on Monday where the Raptors could actually make this a winning road trip. They could in Denver as well but that seems more unlikely.
Reminder we have Matt Devlin scheduled to join us sometime to be a guest in the Starting 5. I am assured he still has his voice after last night. So make sure to be on the look out for that. Maybe a guest tomorrow too. Will see.