If the Raptors were looking for a signature game, this was it. Toronto displayed all of their worst tendencies, and then followed them with all of their best. It was, in a word, bananas. How bananas? The hero on the night was Jeremy Lin, somehow both top scorer (31) and fourth- or fifth-best player on the floor. With so many other, better performers marking each other out of the game, it was only Lin who had a clear path to the basket. The Raptors didn’t win. This was another of those low victories they don’t like talking about — the moral sort. But it somehow showed more spark than this team has yet managed. It was a game that should have been lost badly. In being lost well, it pointed a way forward.
At times this game was simply unwatchable from an offensive standpoint, the vast majority of that unwatchable part came in the second quarter. But pretty doesn’t always win games or even get you to overtime and the Raptors uglied this one up just long enough to give their offence time to find a semblance of rhythm.
Lowry’s focus Monday was much more on getting his big scoring wingers back on track than he was on his ankle. Both Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan are shooting below 40%, a mark neither has ever finished a season with and one Lowry is quite sure won’t continue. “They are taking tough shots, they are getting double teamed and we have to find a way to get them easier, open shots,” he said. “I think we can get the ball out a little faster and get in transition a little easier it will open up the floor a little more and that starts from our defence.” Asked if he was concerned about one or both, Lowry rolled his eyes.
“I am proud of the way they fought and scrapped and got back in the game,” Dwane Casey said after his team’s 110-104 double-overtime defeat at the hands of the Houston Rockets. “They could have laid down two or three times and they didn’t.” “There’s no moral victories in this game but, I see our team growing, fighting through things. It’s a totally different feel from last year.”
It may be one thing to start recapping what was a hard fought victory on a negative note, but I will freely admit to being much more frustrated by this game than the second Clippers defeat. A large part of that is due to Jonas Valanciunas. The young center, who is supposed to be the future of the Raptors franchise, was incredible tonight. His stat lines may not be that impressive, as he finished with 10 points on 9 shots and grabbed 13 boards, but he had a real effect on Dwight Howard and on Toronto’s defense.
Those who won’t be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rocks. If the Rockets cannot learn from past mistakes, cannot learn to overcome a normally quite beatable defensive tactic, then they can expect to lose games like this one to teams just slightly better than the Raptors. If they can’t learn to figure out ways to close out teams when they have leads, then they get to play 48 minutes when they’re sick.
he Rockets blew a 17-point lead in regulation, and in overtime, Rudy Gay (who led the Raptors with 29 points off 11-of-37 shooting) hit a game-tying three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left to force another extra period.
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