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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 04.04.10
Iguodala leaves critics scratching their heads
Raps give all-out effort
Normally even the mention of Andre Iguodala’s name in connection with the Raptors is enough to drive the mildest Toronto basketball fan into a frenzy.
Raptors fans hear Iguodala and immediately the lumbering visage of a Rafael Araujo, the guy then-GM Rob Babcock and the Raptors selected one pick of ahead of Philly’s choice Iguodala comes to mind.
But even scoring a game-high 33 in Sunday’s loss, Iguodala was more than tolerable because it was his poor shot selection in the final 26 seconds that helped seal the win for the Raptors.
Trailing by three and inbounding from the Raptors end of the court, the pass to Iguodala at the top of the three-point arc went over his head and headed toward the sidelines.
Iguodala chased it down and with Chris Bosh on him and still looking at a full shot clock turned and heaved up a prayer that barely hit iron and was rebounded by Sonny Weems.
The Sixers were forced to foul and four Jarrett Jack free throws later, two of them finding the mark, the game was all but over.
Iguodala’s decision to go for an out-of-control three from well behind the three-point line left plenty of watchers scratching their heads.
“I don’t know what he was thinking,” Antoine Wright said of Iguodala. “He’s a great player. He did everything he could (Saturday) but I think maybe he just rushed his shot. He had a matchup that favoured them and I think he got a little ahead of himself.”
Iguodala, himself chose to give Bosh the credit.
“Bosh was guarding me throughout the whole overtime and he really would not let me catch the ball,” Iguodala said. “He was pretty much on me so I got some open space. I took it and you pretty much just got to let it go.”
Hear and there
Playing with fire.
There’s no other way to explain it.
Facing a team that was giving every indication it was ready to mail this one in — how many other teams have gone a full quarter without pulling down a single individual rebound like the Sixers did in the third on Saturday — the Raptors needed all 48 minutes of regulation and overtime before sealing a
128-123 must-win over the 26-50 76ers.
It was the type of day more appropriate for playground basketball given the almost picture-perfect weather and both the 76ers and Raptors seemed to comply with the no-defence rule for most of the afternoon.
In the end, it backfired for both teams as their collective defensive indifference meant each team scored at will.
The Raptors had a 17-point lead with three minutes to go in the third quarter but could not maintain that advantage.
Coach Jay Triano said it was the Sixers going small and coming with a full-court press that crossed up his team.
“It was a battle, we had such good momentum and then they went unconventional with that small lineup and we got sloppy with the basketball, turned it over and that gave them momentum and they started making shots,” he said.
“We broke the press but instead of breaking it to score, we broke it to break it. Then you’re fighting the shot clock, we have to break presses to score and make them pay for it. We didn’t do that, we were cautious with it … but we found a way to come back.”
A big reason they were able to come back was the don’t-quit attitude of Antoine Wright.
Bosh leads Raptors past 76ers in OT win
Memo to Chris Bosh: Kevin Garnett didn’t win his first NBA playoff round until his ninth pro season. But he was in the playoffs six of his first seven years. Should the Raptors make it this year, Bosh will be in his third playoff year in seven Toronto seasons ... A harder number to fathom: The Raptors have won 11 — count ’em 11 — playoff games in their entire history ...
Jay Triano hoping to keep Chris Bosh fresh as pace picks up down the stretch
As he stood watching teammate Jarrett Jack prepare to take the second of two foul shots with his team up by three and less than 20 seconds left in overtime, Antoine Wright glanced over at the guy allegedly guarding him.
Sensing disinterest, Wright knew what he had to do: he crashed the boards and grabbed another of Jack’s misses in what proved to be the defining moment of Toronto’s 128-123 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday afternoon.
“I saw (Philadelphia’s) Jrue Holiday wasn’t looking at me,” said Wright. “He was looking over at the bench so I was like, I have to go, see what happens.
“Jarrett is a good free-throw shooter and normally makes them, but I was prepared just in case.”
Wright corralled the errant shot, the ball got kicked back out to Jack and when he was fouled again, the point guard made two free throws with 14 seconds left to preserve a Toronto win after the Raptors had blown a 17-point third-quarter lead.
“That’s one of those things we’ve talked about — never quit on any play,” coach Jay Triano said of Wright’s efforts. “Half the time, guys stand on the free-throw line and assume the ball’s going to go in. You never make assumptions and he didn’t assume, he kept playing and kept fighting and it got us another possession to kind of seal the deal.”
Bosh leads Raptors past Sixers
There is probably only one day – next Saturday – left for any kind of legitimate practice and the job now becomes as much managing rest and recuperation as it does running pick and roll.
And for Chris Bosh, the best player on the team and the guy they'll need to be at peak efficiency in this stretch run, that's going to mean a slight change in his in-game routine and as much down time on off days as he can get.
"In the middle of the season, we were playing him the majority of the third quarter and giving him the last three minutes (of the third) and the first three of the fourth as times to rest," said coach Jay Triano.
But those days are gone and Bosh is now more likely to get more, shorter stints on the bench so he's fresher later in games.
"In not trying to break him down now, we're going to probably take him out earlier and make it where he gets two rests in the second half," said the coach. "With the intensity we need him to rebound and run the floor and play (at), two breaks are where we're going to go.
"It might mean one or two fewer minutes (overall) but if it means higher productivity and energy when he's out there, we're going to take it."
Sixers can't catch Raptors in 128-123 OT loss
The Toronto Raptors narrowly averted a costly letdown in their push to make the playoffs.
Toronto blew a 17-point third-quarter lead against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers and trailed in overtime Saturday before Chris Bosh stepped up with two key shots to keep the Raptors in control of the eighth and final playoff spot with a 128-123 win.
“I wouldn't want to imagine the (playoff) scenario if we lost that game,” Bosh said.
He finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, including a bank shot with 30 seconds left that put Toronto (38-37) ahead by three and avoided what would have been a gloomy scene in the visitors' locker room.
Rookie Jrue Holiday put Philadelphia (26-50) up 114-111 with 59 seconds left in regulation, but Jose Calderon tied it 17 seconds later with a 3. Bosh had a chance to win the game, but missed a contested layup at the buzzer. He atoned for the miss in overtime.
“It was a real good win for us, but we blew a big lead,” Bosh said. “We got a little complacent out there.”
A three-point jumper by rookie guard Jrue Holiday, who teamed with Lou Williams, Willie Green, Andre Iguodala, and Samuel Dalembert to rally the Sixers, put Toronto down by three points with 58.9 seconds left in regulation.
Toronto guard Jose Calderon matched Holiday to knot the score with 42.9 seconds to go. Green and Raptors forward Chris Bosh then missed layups, and the fourth period ended, 114-114.
With the win, Toronto improved to 38-37. Entering the game, the Raptors were a game and a half up on the Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth. Chicago hosted the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.
The Sixers (26-50) have six games remaining, beginning with one against visiting Detroit on Tuesday.
"We're going to fight," said Williams, who scored 12 points after he missed the team's previous five outings because of lower-back pain. "We still have games to play. We have not packed it in, obviously."
The Sixers received 33 points and 11 assists from Iguodala, both season highs. Holiday established a personal best with 25 points. For Toronto, Bosh (28) and center Andrea Bargnani (23) led the way.
Both squads shot well from the floor - the Sixers, 55.6 percent; Toronto, 56.3.