The knock on Chris Bosh is that he can’t create and get his shot off in late-game moments with the game hanging in the balance.
Power forwards in the NBA aren’t exactly asked to win games because, given their position, it’s too easy to send another defender and force the ball out of their hands.
But Friday night, with the game on the line and the Raptors running a two-man game featuring Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, the club asked its franchise player to win a game, a game that went the host’s way for most of the evening.
And Bosh delivered, sending the Raptors to their thrilling 108-106 victory, Toronto’s eighth in the past 10 games, a win that puts the team one game over .500.
When matched up against Samuel Dalembert, Bargnani got off a shot, which the officials felt Dalembert cleanly blocked.
The fact that the ball appeared to be on its way into the basket didn’t seem to be of any consequence to the officials.
A goaltending call should have been called and two points awarded to the Raptors.
The play was ruled a block and as Bargnani ventured downcourt to play defence, he turned to the official, veteran Monty McCutchen, and uttered words that didn’t sit well.
Bargnani got teed up, his first technical of the season, and one of the few technicals he has picked up in his NBA career.
One of the best ways in the NBA to earn respect is by being vocal and to get in an official’s ear.
Class act Ed Pinckney serves as a TV analyst on 76ers broadcasts. The Villanova product was a member of the expansion Raptors and served as Toronto’s first captain. He took the opening tip in the Raptors’ first game against the New Jersey Nets at the SkyDome.
"Coach basically said during halftime, all we’ve got to do is get back on defence," said Johnson. "If we get stops, we’ll win the game. If not, we’ll get blown out of the gym. So we just focused on getting stops."
Said Triano: "I’m not going to say we’re a good defensive team. But we’re getting better at it, and I think that’s the biggest thing – that guys care about defence right now."
Indeed, it was a little more than a month ago that the Raptors were on pace to be the worst defensive team in NBA history. They were mired in a five-game losing streak. They powwowed for something like an hour during a team meeting in Washington. They adjusted their defensive scheme and, most important, increased their effort. They’ve won 12 of 17 games since. On Friday night, after Bosh answered the call and the defence clamped down, they celebrated with Philly cheese-steak sandwiches to the locker room.
"I think we’re a great team. The good thing about it: We can be much better," said point guard Jose Calderon. The problem is maybe everybody was expecting us to be a great team from Game 1 … We needed time. We had our problems. I think we’ve tried to get better at those problems. Right now we still have problems, for sure. But we can be much better."
The Raptors, who have made a three-pointer in 897 straight games, hit their first ones of the game in the third on back-to-back threes from Jarrett Jack and Bargnani that sliced the deficit under 10.
Marco Belinelli capped an 11-3 run with his first three of the game that tied the game at 83-all.
As a reward for their recent performances, they received a day off on Thursday. Originally, a practice was planned for the team that day in Florida.
With the way the Raptors started in Philadelphia, though, coach Jay Triano might think twice about offering such a prize for good behaviour again. The Raptors looked lethargic to start out the game, perhaps thinking both backward to their success and forward to their game at home against Boston on Sunday.
The Raptors played sloppily early on, surrendering 60 points in the opening half as Philadelphia took an 11-point lead to the break. In the first quarter, the 76ers scored 13 fast-break points to the Raptors none. Part of that can be explained by turnovers, but part was just a general sluggishness in terms of going from offence to defence.
On the Sixers’ last possession, Allen Iverson got the ball at the top of the key and tried to get it to Andre Iguodala (17 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) slipping down the middle of the lane, but Iverson lost his balance and had to get the ball to Williams on the right wing. Williams desperately dribbled toward the top of the key, but was forced to fire a 28-foot fadeaway as time expired.
"It wasn’t really a pick-and-roll. It was supposed to be [Iguodala] just coming and making it look like that and then rolling," said Iverson, who scored a season-high 22 points. "But when I went off it, I hit [Iguodala's] foot and stumbled, and I just tried to get the ball out of my hand before I traveled. And then we were forced to take a tough shot. It wasn’t the shot that we wanted."
Raptors edge 76ers behind Bosh’s three-point play – VIDEO
There are several misconceptions about the final score we should clear up first of all. The final score (108-106) would lead to believe neither team played a lick of defense, but that’s not really the case. The defensive efficiency ratings for each team was actually better than their season averages (108 for the Raptors, their season number is 112, 110 for the Sixers, their season number is 111). So for the game, each team played merely terrible defense, not the atrocious defense we’re used to seeing.
Now that last bit about how the defense wasn’t atrocious is misleading as well. You see, the Sixers actually played a decent defensive half in the first, holding Toronto to 49 points. The 59-point second half is what really did them in, and that was a truly pitiful defensive effort. On the other side of the ball, the Sixers scorched the Raptors for 60 first-half points, but could only manage 46 in the third and fourth. If you’re going to play one solid half of basketball, typically you’d like it to be the second half, but hey, one solid half is more than we usually get, so good for Eddie Jordan.
From a talent standpoint, I’m not so sure that Houston has the edge. They do have a number of good young pieces, but Miami’s Michael Beasley and the Knicks’ Danilo Gallinari would seem to have more upside than any of the Rockets mentioned. The Rockets do have more young talent overall than the Knicks or the Heat, so maybe they’ll be able to put a package together that will appeal to the Raptors. I’m sure Toronto would rather trade Bosh out of the Eastern Conference if possible.
1996 — The Toronto Raptors set an NBA record by not making a single free throw in a 92-91 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The expansion Raptors shoot 0-for-3 from the foul line.
Allen Iverson, whose arthritic left knee was drained again on Friday, finished with a season-high 22 points.
"It starts to get in your head once you get a lead. That’s the bad part about what’s going on now," said Iverson, who did not make the trip to Detroit for tonight’s game.
Toronto (19-18) outscored the Sixers 34-25 in the third quarter to pull within 85-83.
"The third quarter, we had some of our own undoing," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said. "I think we had nine turnovers in the quarter. We just have to make plays. We left a lot of plays out there unfinished."
Bosh was facing Sixers center Samuel Dalembert with the clock ticking down and the Sixers clinging to a 106-105 lead. Bosh, who finished with a game-high 29 points, jabbed left, drove middle, and knocked the ball off the glass with his right hand – of note because he is a lefty.
"He sort of somehow gets off a right-hand scoop hook against our best defender, and that is what all-stars do," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said.
The foul was Dalembert’s sixth and final. Seconds earlier, he had slammed home a missed transition layup by Sixers forward Thaddeus Young, giving his team the lead with 19.7 seconds left.
At the buzzer, Sixers guard Lou Williams, who finished with 23 points, missed a 28-footer. The play was designed as a pick-and-roll between Iverson and swingman Andre Iguodala, but Iverson stumbled as he dribbled off the screen.
"It’s a deja vu situation," said Allen Iverson. "Obviously, it’s something that you think about."
That makes the Sixers 10-25, including 1-9 in their last 10 home games.
Once the Raptors, who scored 59 points and made 56.8 percent of their shots in the second half, started making a run at the Sixers, they "got that ‘here it comes again’ look," said Andre Iguodala.
The Raptors have done a nice job of doing that as evidenced by their stellar stretch of late.
They’re winning with defense.
"Defense is going to be critical for us the rest of the season," said Toronto guard Jose Calderon. "The coaches always stay on us to focus on our defense. It helped us in a big way. We made a play when we needed it most."
So, four players impressed me tonight. Two of them are old and have no future on the team, one only impressed on one end of the floor, and the last guy impressed me so much that it depresses me that he’s wasting away on my favorite team! Welcome to life as a Sixers fan!
The Toronto Raptors needed a suspect continuation call and a Lou Williams miss to get it done, but with a 108 to 106 win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night, the Dinos have managed to climb one game over .500 for the first time in months…
Triano said after the game that on the Raps final play “Chris Bosh demanded the ball”. What more do you want from the teams best player? He demands the ball in a key situation, takes it to the rim (something he hasn’t always done), and scores the games winning basket on a three point play. It was sensational to watch because it is what ll of us beleive Bosh can and should be doing. This is a star, playing like a star and willing his team to victory.
Getting Chris Bosh won’t be cheap. Word around the league the past few days is that the Houston Rockets are trying to package a deal to land soon-to-be free agent Chris Bosh. Reasons Toronto considers is they are not sure they can get Bosh to re-sign. Reasons Houston makes this offer, they hate T-Mac, and Yao’s return is TBA (which could be 6 months to never). If i was Daryl Morley, I do not make this trade, it will take too much talent for Chris Bosh. With the Rockets cap situation, just sign Chris Bosh (or Lebron, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Wade, etc) next year and not give up anything but cash.