Big 4th Quarter Squashes Bugs

The one thing the Raptors have failed to be in many ways in consistent. This game has a good example of that in one night. If the Raptors have been consistent at anything, it is getting off to slow starts and that was the case on this night with the Hornets getting off to a 10-2 start. But the Raptors would storm back and make this a game in short order. The Raptors after the slow start caught fire shooting the basketball. Toronto after missing 4 of their first 5 shots many of which were in the paint the Raptors would get hot from long range. Jose Calderon made a couple of three pointers which would be his only two makes from long range on the night. The Raptors would eventually take the lead 22-21, their first lead since 2-0 on a Calderon jumper for 2. The quarter would end with Barbosa hitting a buzzer beater 2 giving the Raptors a 29-25 lead after one and they were shooting above 60% from the field.

The second quarter would be the most even the two teams would play all night. The Raptors would get the lead to lead to 10 on a couple James Johnson free throws to make it 36-26. But the Raptors would let that advantage slip away. The Hornets on a couple of Jarrett Jack free throws had cut the lead to 40-38 with 4:18 to play in the half. The Raptors would re-establish an advantage leading 51-42 with 44 second to play in the half. Some sloppy stuff to close the quarter. Casey would sub in Anthony Carter to guard Jarrett Jack with 10 seconds to play and he would get blown by for an easy layup and to add to an earlier buck and those 4 points made a 9 point lead just a 5 point lead at the half with the score 51-46.

That sloppy ending would lead to a terrible 3rd quarter for the Raptors. How bad was it? Well remember how the Raptors were shooting above 60% after the first? They would be below 40% after the third quarter was done. Raptors only made 4 field goals in the entire quarter 3 of which were made by Demar DeRozan. In total the Raptors managed just 11 points in the 3rd Quarter. So given that information, it was not a case of if the Hornets would take the lead, just when did they take the lead? Surprisingly, it took longer than you think, as with 3:59 left in the 3rd Trevor Ariza would make a 2 point shot to give the Hornets a 60-58 lead. There were points where both teams were just jacking up threes and missing them. There is a reason these teams are not all that good and it was on full display in the 3rd. Unlike the Raptors did down the stretch in the 2nd, the Hornets would do what you are suppose to do with a lead by adding to it. They held the Raptors to just 4 points in the final four minutes and had a 69-62 lead to take to the 4th quarter.

It only took the Raptors 1 minute and 17 seconds to tie the game at 69. Linas Kleiza who had a strong night hit a three as part of that 7-0 run to start the 4th. After a Hornet bucket to get back ahead by two it would be Kleiza again with 3 to give the Raptors a 72-71 still less than 2 minutes into the 4th. The Raptors had a 10-2 run to answer the one the Hornets had to start the game. Former Raptor Marco Belinelli would hit a three to answer to give the Hornets a 74-72 lead. It is the last time the Hornets would lead in this game as it turned out. The game would be tied at 77 and Bayless would make two at the line to give the Raptors the lead back. After that a Barbosa three pointer and the Raptors would not look back from there. The Raptors would pull away in the final seven minutes and change to end up with an eleven point win for their 11th win of season with a final score of 95-84.

DeRozan was big in this game after not being happy about being benched for the 4th quarter in Houston he had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists on the night. He tied for the scoring lead in this game with Linas Kleiza who was hot from long range going 5-7 from the 3 point line accounting for15 of his 21 points. Barbosa had 15 points as well off the bench with only one made three as part of that total. Those 3 guys were the main reason the Raptors got a win on this night. It was not how you would want to script it. The Raptors did have their ugly moments in this game. However when you come out and score 33 points in the 4th quarter and only allow your opponent to score 15 a lot can be forgiven. When you only have 11 wins on the season you are not going to be picky in how you get a win at the end of the day.

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