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News » Surging Raptors stave off buzzer beating by Nets

Surging Raptors stave off buzzer beating by Nets

Surging Raptors stave off buzzer beating by Nets
Heaven knows the Raptors have played poorly and lost on numerous occasions this season; the Basketball gods finally threw them a bone last night.

Despite a rather lacklustre performance and a missed open shot that would have provided another gut-wrenching loss, the Raptors find themselves in a place they haven't been since the first week of the regular season: Winners of three in a row.

Devin Harris missed an eminently makeable little jump shot at the buzzer and Toronto withstood a barrage of New Jersey three-pointers in a 107-106 victory that felt a lot like a theft in the immediate aftermath.

"We did not think we played that well," coach Jay Triano said in the evening's most astute assessment. "We shot the ball well enough to stay in the game and we found a way to gut it out at the end."

But for one of the rare occasions this season, the Raptors weren't lamenting a bad performance that got them a richly deserved defeat. Instead, they were talking about momentum being on their side heading into a key game at home tomorrow against Milwaukee.

"We need to play a lot better than we played (last night)," said Triano.

But they played just well enough when it counted and got a huge break when Harris missed a shot he'd normally make.

Down one with the ball in the final 20 seconds, the Nets didn't put it in the hands of noted Raptor killer Vince Carter, who was a spectator on the decisive play.

Instead, they let Harris get isolated at the right elbow, he put a wicked move on a couple of Raptor defenders, stepped back and took an open 16-footer that never had a chance to go in, sailing wide right the whole way.

"That's my go-to move," he said. "I couldn't ask for anything (more). I just missed it."

The Raptors escaped with the win not only because of the Harris miss but because Joey Graham came up with an energy-boosting, 15-point, five-rebound effort. Graham's presence on the court was more out of necessity than anything else but it did provide a vitally needed boost to a lethargic group.

"We went small out of necessity when (Jermaine O'Neal) got in foul trouble, Andrea (Bargnani) got in foul trouble and then with the smaller lineup, we seemed to match up better on the screen-and-roll action and stopped them from running the high screen to almost perfection," said Triano.

"Joey got going and I just couldn't see taking Joey out of the game. We went back to Andrea for an offensive possession at one point but when they stayed small, we had to match up small again."

And Graham came through when several others didn't.

Chris Bosh (18 points), Bargnani (eight points) and O'Neal (eight points) were held in check most of the night, primarily of their own doing because they weren't nearly as aggressive as they have been. That left it to Graham, Anthony Parker (a team-high 21 points) and Jose Calderon (17 points, 11 assists) to carry the load.

Carter started out like he was going to single-handedly slay his former team as he has in the past. He hit four straight three pointers as part of a 16-point first quarter but cooled considerably after that, finishing with 27, including only four in the final quarter.

And with the game on the line, the ball went to someone else.

"I just told Devin, 'good shot,'" said Carter. "If that's his shot, he's got to take it."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 29, 2009


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