Even with the Spurs shooting like a grade school team, this one came right down to the wire.
Fittingly, it was Chris Bosh who had just become the franchises all-time leading scorer a quarter earlier who put this one to bed with a rebound on a Duncan miss at one end followed by a lay-up at the other end over the same Duncan.
Tony Parker led all scorers with 23, one more than Bosh, and that played right into the Raptors hands.
“We weren’t going to run two or three guys at Tony Parker and hopefully stop him,” Triano said. “If he made mid-range jumpers we were going to accept that. That was our game plan, to make him beat us.”
As much as he tried to play down the moment — “I was kind of thinking it would be really nice to set the record and everything, but I wanted the get the win as well," he said. "That was my main focus.” — Bosh knows it is something he will never do again in his career.
And for that reason, he had no problem admitting he was keeping his game jersey and shoes as souvenirs of the accomplishment, even if he didn’t wear his draft suit as locker-room neighbour Pops Mensah-Bonsu suggested would have been appropriate for the occasion.
Bosh was already the franchise leader in rebounds, minutes played and blocks. He joins an elite class of 10 other players — a list that includes the likes of Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Patrick Ewing — to hold both the franchise mark in scoring and rebounds.
It was rare because it came against an opponent with win-loss record over .500 – the Raptors have just five wins in 17 games against such quality foes this season. It was rare because it came on the second leg of back-to-back games, in the wake of Saturday's disappointing loss to a depleted Celtics squad in Boston. The Raptors improved to 2-6 this season in such situations.
And it was rare because Bosh struggled and the home team still prevailed. He missed 14 of his 24 field-goal attempts and didn't get to the free-throw line until the game's final minutes. But he pulled down 15 rebounds, and he ventured into the paint with the game in the balance, making a key running hook shot with 56 seconds left that put the Raptors up 85-80.
Chris Bosh has done more than set a Toronto Raptors career scoring standard. So far, at least, he's shown professional athletes how to conduct themselves in a contract year. The Toronto Raptors still seem to be a fatally-flawed unit, but through it all Bosh's pending free-agency eligibility seldom surfaces as a storyline – a blessing in a city that has already lived through the protracted departure of Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. It's true that is in part because the NBA's regulations make a sign-and-trade scenario a way to even more riches for a potential free-agent, but still, Bosh has avoided the cutesy answers and actions that send out mixed messages.
If Bosh signs a long-term contract in the off-season – he’s heading into free agency – and play the rest of his prime in Toronto, it’s likely he’ll set marks in all categories that will last decades into the future.
But producing is simply what’s become expected for the veteran who joined the club as a skinny 19-year-old with one year of college basketball under his belt before being drafted No.4 overall in 2003 by then-general manager Glen Grunwald.
The most unappreciated aspect of being the face of a franchise? “The biggest thing you have to do is make sure you show up every night,” said Raptors coach Jay Triano, who has worked with Bosh since he broke into the NBA. “There’s no hiding on the bench or deferring to the all-star and throw him the ball every time I get it. He knows the ball is coming to him and he has to perform and if he doesn’t we’re in a bit of a hole.”
And Bosh has delivered.
Over the course of his career, Bosh has been criticized for not being tough enough and not having solid late-game chops. This season, with his rebound average skyrocketing – Bosh added 15 more to the total against the Spurs – and a few clutch shots, he is making both of those nits a little less worth picking.
"This is the position you want to be in," Bosh said. "I always tell people that when we were kids shooting in the backyard or in the park or something, you're the man taking the last shot. You're not in the corner giving a high five after a man hits it. You think about being the best player on the court. I've been really blessed to be the focal point. I think it's crazy that it actually happened."
It was fitting that the record should come against Duncan, then, one of the best, if not the best, power forwards of all time. However, Bosh did not match up against Duncan at the start.
Chris Bosh became Toronto's all-time leading scorer in the Raptors' win
"I've been putting a lot of hard work into this franchise and it's starting to pay off," Bosh said.
While the Raptors were without starter Hedo Turkoglu, who was battling upper respiratory issues, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich brought Tim Duncan off of the bench, saying he wanted his star fresh for the fourth quarter after he had played big minutes the night before in Washington.
It was just the second time in Duncan's 929-game career that he hadn't started a game.
"I played in the Western Conference for thee years and Coach Popovich is a quirky guy," said Raptors guard Jarrett Jack when asked if the move surprised him. "He might do things just because it's Tuesday. Coach Pop is just a quirky dude."
With Duncan out of the lineup to start the game, Tony Parker was the only Spurs player able to hit anything, shooting 6-for-7 from the floor in the opening quarter while the rest of his teammates combined to connect on just 3-for-17 attempts.
After Saturday night's loss in Boston the Raptors knew they were going to have to put their best foot forward to prevent back-to-back losses.
With a little luck and some solid play from CB4 they did just that.
I got a chance to shoot a small timelapse at Air Canada Centre when Toronto Raptors played against Houston Rockets a few weeks ago (Thanks Neda)
Duncan finally entered the game with 9:58 remaining in the second quarter and discovered he needed a few trips, and shots, to get in a rhythm. He missed his first three shots and never seemed to get comfortable at the offensive end. Though he finished with 22 points, he needed 22 shots to get them, missing 14 field-goal attempts and 4 of 9 free throws.
Parker was worse, missing 5 of 9 at the line, and the Spurs' 16-for-27 free-throwing ultimately proved their undoing.
“They made 24 of their 27, and we made 16,” Popovich said. “In a way, you can say that's the ballgame right there.”
The win was the Raptors' sixth in their last seven games, and the Spurs found them a much more focused foe than they were on Nov. 9, when the Spurs scored a season-high 131 points in a victory at the AT&T Center.
THE FAN presents highlights (clip 1 courtesy Paul Jones) and the recap (clip 2 courtesy Eric Smith) of a 91-86 Raptors victory over the Spurs.
The former Raptors' fan favourite and current Spur checks in with Eric to update his status as he rehabs from a broken right hand. Bonner also remenisces about his time as a Raptor and praises the city for its support.
Chris Bosh is officially the all-time leading scorer for the Raptors as he passed VC's mark of 9,420 pts. Bosh put up 22 pts and 15 rebounds and most importantly got the win over one of the top teams out of the West. The Raps played a great first half holding the former champs to 34 points. The Spurs did made a run in the final quarter when Keith Bogans nailed a big three to get the Spurs within two points but thanks to Bosh and Belinelli's free throws in the closing seconds, the Raps pulled out the win.
Last season in what was one of few memorable nights at the ACC, the Toronto Raptors defeated Tim Duncan and the Spurs 91-89. And they did it without their all-star Chris Bosh or Jose Calderon.
On February 11, 2009 Andrea Bargnani led the 21-34 Toronto Raptors in scoring with 23 points and 8 rebounds to surprise the 35-16 San Antonio Spurs.
And like this year’s contest, Tim Duncan was held to 8 of 18 shooting and 20 points in the loss.
Maybe the Spurs just can’t take the cold?
And in a night sure to be remembered as a milestone marking Chris Bosh’s amazing offensive talents, maybe Andrea Bargnani will remember blocking Tim Duncan three times and holding the league’s best power forward to just 36 percent shooting.
– “The Raptors weren’t happy with their effort and intensity on Saturday night in Boston. They made up for that slippage in this game. Now … can the Raps bottle that for Orlando as well and the rest of the season?”
– “With respect to ‘effort’ … that’s more like it. Other than one jump-shot late in the game, Jarrett Jack set the tone by driving the ball to the goal.”
Check out the game between the Raptors and Spurs all in just six minutes!
Jay Triano talks to the media following the Raptors win over San Antonio.
Chris Bosh talks to the media after he sets a new franchise record for most points on Sunday against San Antonio.
Watch as Chris Bosh becomes the Raptors all-time scoring leader with this basket against the Spurs.
DeMar DeRozan speaks with the Raptors NBA TV panel following the Raptors' win over the Spurs at ACC.
Andrea Bargnani talks to the media following the Raptors win over the Spurs on Sunday.
Jarrett Jack talks to the media following the Raptors home victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Raptors led by 14 at the half and by 12 after three quarters.
The Spurs had cut the lead to six but Bargnani drained a three-pointer to put the Raptors ahead 77-68 with 6:54 left in the game.
The Spurs weren't done. Richard Jefferson cut the lead to seven points, and with 3:02 left Duncan made one of two free throws after being fouled by Bosh to make the score 81-75.
With 2:32 left, Duncan was fouled while scoring and made the free throw to pull the Spurs to within three at 81-78.
Bosh put the Raptors ahead 85-80 on a driving lay-up with 56 seconds left. But Keith Bogans hit a three-pointer with 12.4 seconds left and cut the Raptors lead to 85-83.
Bosh made two free throws with 11 seconds to make it 87-83.
Shortly after Chris Bosh became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Toronto Raptors franchise, he met with the media to talk about what this milestone means to him, why winning tonight made the record that much sweeter and the pressures he has faced being “the guy” here in Toronto.