The Raptors were trailing by two and could have allowed the clock to play itself out or commit a foul to extend the game.
Jose Calderon heard Chris Bosh yell: “Foul!”
The Raptors could have forced a stop, which would have given them time, albeit three or four seconds, to win the game.
Head coach Jay Triano said later he could have lived with either decision. Either way, the Raptors lost the game, 97-94, in yet another heartbreaking fashion.
Their chances against host Charlotte on Monday night aren’t good and the chance of Chicago supplanting Toronto as the eighth and final playoff seed now grow stronger.
Catching Miami now seems out of reach, especially given its favourable schedule to end the year.
“It’s tough,’’ Triano said of the late-game situation. “At that point of the game, there is two ways you can go, play it out or you can foul early and extend the game.”
It was questionable as were other questionable decisions by Triano.
“I heard C.B. say, foul,’’ Calderon said. “At least the game was a little longer with foul, but we could have gone either way.”
The loss, which puts Toronto’s playoff footing on even more unstable ground, paled in comparison to the drama surrounding Turkoglu.
Turkoglu missed Friday’s heartbreaker to Denver because of a stomach ailment, which first surfaced at halftime of last Wednesday’s loss to Utah.
It was later discovered that Turkoglu spent Friday night out on the town.
The team became aware of the situation following e-mails that were allegedly sent to different club officials.
The decision to not play Turkoglu clearly stems from Friday’s no-show against the Nuggets.
When pressed, general manager Bryan Colangelo politely responded by saying the matter was being handled internally.
Turkoglu didn’t have much to say following Sunday’s loss.
“I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay,’’ Turkoglu said when asked to comment on not playing against the Heat.
Raptors head coach Jay Triano said it was a coaching decision not to play Turkoglu, even though he was available.
“He was active. It was a coaching decision to not play him,’’ Triano said.
When pressed to give his reasons why the decision was made, Triano didn’t offer much in the way of an explanation.
When asked if the Raptors could have used Turkoglu’s play-making skills, Triano added: “If he’s 100% healthy and able to go, he’s helped us in those situations, yeah.”
Triano was then asked if the decision was more a function of health or whether he was trying to send a message.
“Both,’’ he said.
But as much as they could have used Turkoglu or better execution in the dying minutes, the Raptors were also undone by the inability to stop Dwyane Wade, who scored 32 points.
Whenever they left him in single coverage, Wade blitzed them with drives, when they ran a second defender at him right away, he picked them to pieces with passes, usually to Udonis Haslem, who made 10 of 11 shots and finished with 23 points.
"They put Dwyane in pick-and-rolls and just didn’t guard him the right way," said Bosh.
"We let him do anything he wanted."
I have no idea if Hedo was out Friday night eating, partying or just killing time before bed like a lot of us do. But, no matter what, the optics aren’t great and I am sure the folks in the upper levels of Raptors brassdom are singularly unimpressed with having to deal with it.
After all, Hedo’s been a bust for much of this season, this just adds to it.
And I can understand entirely that Jay – and you know he had to have let his bosses know what he was planning to do and it met with their approval – would want to send a message by dressing Turk and not using him.
But I also know Jay could have done a better job explaining it to us after the game. In his defence, it’s a pretty emotional time immediately after but he had to know the questions were coming and could have handled it better.
That all said, the question is: What’s next?
Well, I think reasonable men can work out their differences and get past issues and I would imagine Turk’s back doing what he does tonight in Charlotte. I don’t know whether he’ll start but he should play.
It was also interesting to get the players’ reaction to all of this and what happened in the game.
Almost of ‘em distanced themselves from the issues, we got a couple of “that’s a management thing” and a “I’m not sure what’s going on, you have to ask them” and then Social Conscience Antoine Wright (and I mean that in a complimentary way because I like the fact he has opinions and states them) chimed in:
“We’re in support of Hedo, he’s our teammates, we want to see him back on the court but management is handling that.”
But what about sending a message and the cost:
“I don’t make them decisions, man. I think we need everyone n this locker room to play basketball in my personal opinion.”
Dressed for action after missing half of one game, all of another and two practices with a stomach virus, Turkoglu was never summoned by head coach Jay Triano.
“I told them I want to play,” Turkoglu said before the game. He declined the opportunity to comment afterward, and Triano shed no light on the situation. Asked if he was sitting out for health or discipline reasons, Triano said only: “Both.”
It was his first game coming off the bench since March 10, 2006. Prior to last night, he’d started 236 games in which he’d dressed.
The benching came in the wake of reports that Turkoglu was out in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district after the Raptors’ crushing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, a game he didn’t play because of a stomach virus that caused him to leave at halftime of the Raptors loss’ to the Utah Jazz last Wednesday.
When pressed, Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said that word of Turkoglu’s night out had reached the team – apparently fans had spotted him and sent e-mails to team officials and some media – and the matter had been dealt with “internally,” the implication being that the Turkish small forward had been fined.
Before last night’s game, Turkoglu denied that he’d been out at all, but added that what he said didn’t matter.
“It’s all good, man,” Turkoglu said. “I’ve been dealing with this [stuff] the whole year. They’ve been on me on this [going out] the whole year long. If I wasn’t out, sick or healthy, they [the fans] would still say something. I don’t say anything. Ten games left of the season, all I try finish strong.”
In the final six minutes of the game, as the Heat made a 21-7 run, the Raptors hit precisely two field goals. One was a jumper from Sonny Weems off of a broken play. The other was a late three-pointer from Jarrett Jack as almost all hope for a win was gone.
The Heat regularly sent a double team at Chris Bosh, and the Raptors did not swing the ball quickly enough to get open looks.
"They passed it inside to me a few times in the fourth quarter. But they were doubling right off the bat. I trusted my teammates a few times, kicked it out," Bosh said. "When that happens you have to have proper spacing and knock down your shot. I don’t think our spacing is correct right now and it makes it easy to continue to double."
Who’s hot? Gerald Wallace has mixed in three 20-plus-point games and two 16-plus-rebound games over his last five outings.
Who’s not? Acquired at the trade deadline, Tyrus Thomas has not scored in double digits — nor played more than 20 minutes — in any of his past four games.
That’s where Beasley was all of Sunday, in his own head. It’s where he has been for some time lately. It’s a shame, really, that as the Heat is doing exactly what you would want it to do at this time of year — finding an identity and playing its best basketball — Beasley is too often somewhere else.
On Sunday, he was nowhere to be found. Not only was he missing from every possible angle, but he was letting Andrea Bargnani kick-start the Raptors, who eventually took a 17-point lead.
Once Spoelstra passed the responsibilities to Haslem five minutes into the third quarter, there was an entirely new energy on the floor. There is a comfort that comes with watching Wade and Haslem attack a deficit.
Against the Raptors, Haslem didn’t just deliver his usual baseline jumpers. He played the way the Heat would hope Beasley could, mixing his game with drives and post-ups and missing just one shot in 11 tries.
Haslem, playing on a sprained ankle, said the rally was about being ready once Toronto loaded up on Wade.
“I’ve been here long enough to know down the stretch they are going to try and take the ball out of Dwyane’s hands,” Haslem said. “It’s just feeling comfortable in the situation.”
Chris Bosh’s 19 points led the Raptors (35-37), who built their big lead by opening the third quarter with four consecutive three-pointers. But the Heat, ranked fourth in defensive three-point percentage, turned up the pressure and chased Toronto off the line.
The Raptors missed 12 of 18 shots in the fourth quarter, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. They ran out of answers against the Heat.
“They’re always going to be struggles,” Bosh said. “You can do two things: You can give up, or you can keep working.”
The Heat shot 52.9 percent from the field and made 19 of 21 free throws.
With the Heat expected to be among his most aggressive suitors this summer, Toronto forward Chris Bosh warned teams not to expect a quick decision regarding his future when the July 1 free agency negotiation period opens.
“I think it’s going to drag out for a while,” Bosh said before Sunday’s game against the Heat. “There are so many possibilities and scenarios, with guys staying with their own teams and trying to get other guys [to sign].
“You have to look at combinations and possibilities of what could happen. So I don’t expect it to be over too quickly.”
Although Bosh has not ruled out staying with the Raptors, he made it clear Sunday that he will explore all of his options and that he wants to be in a position to win an NBA championship. First-round playoff exits no longer are enough. Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said he would entertain sign-and-trade proposals if Bosh wants to leave.
“The money is going to be the same, no matter where I go,” Bosh said. “It’s about winning. I’m finishing my seventh year. Contending for a championship is all I want. I never made it past the first round. I just want to be a contender.”
– Even as bad as the Toronto Raptors’ defense is, I’m surprised they blew that big lead in Miami. I’ll no longer be surprised if they’re the team to slip out of the playoff teams in the East. I’m NOT saying they will lose to the Bobcats Monday. Just saying they’re fading, and I didn’t see that coming even more than the Bulls.