In what could be considered one of the most fun games to watch this season, the Raptors suffered a 100-98 buzzer-beater defeat against the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
What was interesting about the game was the fact that neither team chose to tank. Check out the box score. The Wizards went with Caron Butler for 43 minutes and Jamison for 37 minutes, while the Raptors had Bosh and Marion on the court for 39 minutes apiece and Calderon for 34 min. There was no sight of Douby and a very short sighting of O’Bryant and Pops.
The biggest question before the game was whether Gilbert “Agent 0” Arenas was going to grace our court. Unfortunately for the 18,000+ fans, Agent 0 got 0 minutes in order to rest his sore knee. (Gilbert, the knee’s still sore? For real?) He had played 30 min in the 2 games since coming back, so it’s understandable that he not push the knee too hard. It wasn’t like his team needed him to win this game. Having missed the past two consecutive seasons, I’m hoping Arenas can regain his health to play next year.
Another interesting tit-bit was that it seemed like the Wizards beat us in the paint since throughout the 2nd half, it seemed like Haywood and Jamison were working our guys down and getting lay-up’s at will. Their 50% field goal percentage also seemed to indicate that. The Raps also took an obscene number of three’s (22), which is indicative of the hot shooting night enjoyed by Jason Kapono who went a blistering 6-9 from downtown. He was the only reason we were tied in the final 16 seconds left in the game.
In the final 1:51 minutes, the Wiz were up by six, 94-88, and had enough chances to stick the dagger in us. In one sequence, they committed two straight turnovers and Haywood than missed two free throws. After Calderon hit a pair of FT, Juan Dixon ran as fast as I’ve ever seen him to beat every Raptor except Bosh down the court and scored an easy yet important driving layup. Calderon’s defense on the play was atrocious as usual. Still down by six, Kapono than hit two three’s in front of the Raptors bench, which sent the crowd into a really nice frenzy. Jamison was mugged by Bosh at the half-court line which caused the turnover leading to Kapono’s second three. After Dixon hit another 12-footer against Calderon and Jose responded with a driving layup off a high-screen play called out of a timeout, the game was tied 98-98. Washington than took advantage of having the ball to take and make the final shot of the game.
On the last play of the game, Butler received the inbound pass and was immediately checked by Shawn Marion. As our best perimeter defender guarded the Wizards best perimeter scorer, Butler held the ball at the top of key and winded down the clock and then made his move. He drove to his right, stopped on a dime, pushed away Marion with his left hand (which was reminiscent of Jordan on Russell) and swished-in the game winner with no time remaining. It was somewhat surprising how Butler got open so easily, but it was attributable to him making a great offensive move to lose a great defender. Marion was unable to recover after overplaying the drive and the Raptors suffered their fourth straight loss as the disappointing 2008/09 comes closer to the end.
It’s very disappointing that even when we play our starters their normal minutes we’re not good enough to beat the worst team in the East at home. I would have settled for this being an audition game with Douby, Roko and O’Bryant playing 30 minutes each, at least if we lose that way we could attribute it to trying out players.
- Marion’s off and on play scares me.
- Last night was the final Raptor Fan Friday game party of the season. We want to thank the hundreds of people who joined us in cheering for the Raps. RFF will be back next season.
- Alvin Williams is a great person. He may not have the statistics or the legacy worthy of having his jersey retired, but he’ll always be remembered by Raptor fans.
- Arenas has become the worst contract in the league.
- I hope the Wizards don’t get either the 1st or 2nd pick in the draft.
- Bosh recorded another efficient 20-10 game.
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