Four overtime periods in the last five games. All losses. That is what Toronto Raptors fans had to put up with. That is disheartening for any fan, let alone the players and coaching staff. The Raptors led for most of the game against the Orlando Magic tonight but lost the lead very late. J.J. Redick tied the game late thanks to a four-point play (are you kidding me?!). Rookie Terrence Ross is definitely going to learn from that mistake.
With the clock winding down, and with two defenders on him, DeMar DeRozan took a 22-foot jumper to beat the buzzer and give the win to the Raptors. No overtime today. That had to feel nice.
As a team, the Raptors were good tonight. Ball movement was superb with 25 team assists (versus 10 turnovers) and the team shooting 50% from the field.
Amir Johnson was rock solid once again, posting a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. His output disappeared in the fourth quarter but it was important in keeping the lead for most of the game. His rebounds were also very important in keeping second chances away from the Magic.
Defense was good for the most part with very flew lapses. Magic point guard Jameer Nelson is the only real playmaker for Orlando so stopping him should have been key. He unfortunately almost triple-doubled tonight with 14 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. The Magic also shot 44% from three-point range; something that is a staple of their offence.
The Raptors gave up an 11 point lead late which has become common in recent games. This cannot be allowed to happen anymore as too many games have been lost because of it.
Redick’s game-tying four-point play was a huge mistake on Ross’ part which I’m sure he’s going to see tape on over and over again. You just can’t do that in close game situations.
Game ball: Any surprises here? The game ball is definitely going to DeRozan tonight. Not only did he hit a 22-footer to beat the buzzer and win the game, but he also scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. That is big time clutch production from a wing player that has been struggling as of late. The Raptors will need this on a consistent basis.
Here’s the sweet game-winning shot:
Photo Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack