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News » Raptors relishing hard-earned win

Raptors relishing hard-earned win

Raptors relishing hard-earned win
There will be all kinds of time to dwell on the disappointments of the season, to dissect and discuss what went wrong and what has to be done.

But in the raucous Raptors locker room last evening, the talk was all about the present, the exhilaration of four straight wins and seeing what had transpired at the Air Canada Centre, no one was blaming them for relishing the moment.

In a game full of twists and turns, great plays and bad ones, a marathon that exhausted both participants and viewers, the Raptors turned back the Chicago Bulls 134-129 in overtime in as delightful a game as has been played in the arena this season.

And it was not a time for what-ifs.

"It's the most fun (they've had)," said Chris Bosh, whose 31-point, 15-rebound gem included the game-winning bucket on a putback of his own miss after a drive past Joakim Noah with 14.8 seconds left.

"You can always go through what-if, you're going to go through it naturally, but you just work with what you have. That's what we've been doing all season and that's what I'm going to continue to do.

"Yeah, I wish we would have been playing like this earlier but you can't change the past, all we can do is dictate what we're doing now."

What they're doing now is running as seamlessly as they have for any extended stretch of the season.

Jose Calderon was particularly brilliant, scoring 21 points and dishing out 19 assists, a mark that tied Damon Stoudamire for the team record and was also a personal best for Calderon in any game he's ever played - here or in Europe.

Bosh was great, avenging a situation the last time these two teams played when Noah blocked his attempted game-winner at the buzzer. Andrea Bargnani poured in 28 points.

And Shawn Marion's defence on Derrick Rose down the stretch, taking away the lane from the speedy Chicago guard and funnelling to the help provided by Bosh and Bargnani when he did get beat, was as good a job as anyone could do.

"Man, I just had to take him out of the things he wanted to do and make him shoot from the outside, which he didn't want to do," Marion said. "That's it, really: stay down on him and make him pass it to somebody else.

"I've guarded all the point guards in the league. Definitely, I'm used to it. It ain't an easy job."

There were, of course, moments when Toronto looked like a team with a 28-45 record achieved on merit. They allowed the Bulls to score 42 points in the fourth quarter - the last two a buzzer-beater by Ben Gordon - and they committed 18 turnovers.

But the sense of resiliency they showed was unusual. They have a tendency to bow meekly when things go badly, but yesterday they answered every Chicago run with some stellar play.

"Energy and effort, it was good," said coach Jay Triano. "But I think this last homestand (was good). We just mentioned in the locker room, we lost a tough game to start the five-game homestand against Charlotte. We played well, but we didn't seem to have what wanted. I just credit our guys.

"That's four games in a row where we bounced back and been very focused, determined, played with energy and effort. Hopefully we've rewarded our fans for that."

Calderon was among those more interested in enjoying the moment than living in bitter memories of the past six months.

"I think we saw some things the last couple of games at home, we are going to fight for 48 minutes and, in this case, 50-something," he said. "It feels pretty good, I think everybody is helping each other.

"It's sweet and sour a little bit because we are not that far from playing at the level of the other teams in the playoffs. It was too many little things (earlier in the season). It has been a tough season but we have to keep working."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 30, 2009


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