landry fields forever
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 10.03.11
Raptors lose a heartbreaker
Raptors lose heartbreaker at the buzzer, 96-94 to Jazz
They saved the best until the very end, the game being decided at the buzzer.
And when it sounded, after the officials huddled to review the play, the Jazz had staged a comeback that shouldn’t have happened had the Raptors been more judicious with the ball and had they paid more attention to the finer points on defence.
Entertainment wise, it didn’t get any better.
The end was dripping with suspense, teams exchanging clutch three-balls until Al Jefferson’s put-back on a driving Devin Harris miss would seal the deal, sending the visiting Jazz to its 96-94 win.
At one point in the final quarter, the Raptors led by as many 14 points.
But when Utah went with a zone following a timeout, the Raptors simply didn’t know how to attack it, how to move the ball and more importantly how to keep possession.
In the immediate aftermath, Raptors head coach Jay Triano said he liked the looks that got presented, didn’t mind the shots that got heaved and questioned a travelling violation on DeMar DeRozan.
But when looks are yielded, baskets must be made. When an extra pass is required to move a zone or when more movement off the ball is necessary, they must be executed. The availability of Andrea Bargnani (flu) would have forced Utah out of its zone given Bargnani’s ability to shoot over it.
This loss will hurt and it should because the Raptors lost this one as much as Utah won it.
Jazz rally past Raptors
When they needed someone — anyone — to make a couple of big jump shots to compensate for their lack of a true inside presence, they came up empty.
And came away with yet another disheartening loss.
The Raptors watched a 14-point lead with just over eight minutes to go evaporate — and it’s not as though they didn’t have their chances in those final frustrating moments.
But what may be forever etched in coach Jay Triano’s mind as a memory of this game is the number of shots they just didn’t make.
“We had Ed Davis (miss) a wide-open 12-footer,” the coach said, starting to recount the final seven possessions.
“DeMar DeRozan gets fouled; Jose (Calderon), who was 7-for-9 at the point, misses an open three, misses another open three; they call a questionable call on DeMar travelling ... Calderon misses an open three and (Leandro) Barbosa hits a three.”
Jefferson’s buzzer-beater sinks Raptors
Evans’ return highlights a balancing act the Raptors have inherited this season: how to rebuild around a young core of athletes while maintaining some sort of veteran presence to help guide them.
How Evans’ return will impact rookie Ed Davis is hard to say. Since Evans was sidelined, Davis has taken advantage of his extra minutes and has shown signs of his potential as a key player for the Raptors. He ranks first among rookies in shooting percentage (.642) and fifth in rebounds (6.8). During Saturday’s triple-overtime game against the New jersey Nets in London, England, he grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.
Division of labor wasn’t much of an issue Wednesday, especially after Amir Johnson limped off the court with a sprained left ankle in the first quarter. But it will be interesting to see how Triano manages the minutes for his big men in future games.
Triano said age and experience won’t be factors he weighs heavily when it comes to assigning Davis, Johnson and Evans.
“I think that the future aspect’s in the back of my mind and in the front of my mind is trying to win a basketball game,” he said.
“Guys that are playing better are going to be on the floor,” he said. “I think the competition will make us all better individually, and it will make our team better as well.”
Jazz’s Al Jefferson sinks last-second tip in to beat Raptors
“I think [playing time] will be based on how guys play when they’re in the game,” Triano said. “I think the competition is what will make us all better individually, and it will make our team better, as well.”
Age, contractual status, long-term potential — none of those will be a primary factor determining playing time. That became more of an issue on Wednesday, when Reggie Evans returned to the lineup after being out since Nov. 26 with a broken bone in his foot.
Wednesday night, the glut up front was not such a concern. Bargnani, 25, missed the game with the flu. Amir Johnson, 23, sprained his left ankle at halftime. That left the 30-year-old Evans and 21-year-old Ed Davis, whose playing time might be the most precious, to play the majority of the minutes in the frontcourt.
Eventually, however, all of them will be healthy. And then what happens?
That remains to be seen. For the night, it was Evans’ welcome-back party, one ruined by a sour ending. The Raptors frittered away a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, with the Jazz going on a 22-5 run to take a three-point lead. The Raptors tied it with a Leandro Barbosa three-pointer with 43 seconds remaining, but Utah’s Al Jefferson tipped in a Devin Harris miss at the buzzer.
“It seemed like he did a volleyball swing — up, though,” Evans said. “It went in. He got lucky. I think he was even surprised with that last bucket.
“I guess God was with him on that shot.”
Forced into 33 minutes of action because of the injuries up front — Triano called that number “ridiculous” — Evans picked up where he left off in November, collecting 11 rebounds.
A trim Evans pretty much looked like himself.
“I’m a little banged up, but fatigue-wise I’m pretty good. I ain’t have to do too much running, transition, nothing like that,” Evans said. “I’m not really all that tired. I feel my body, though, especially tonight. Going to practice tomorrow, I’ll probably be pretty sore.”
With 8:14 left in the fourth quarter, Utah was down by 14, the Raptors were shredding the Jazz’s defense, and several Utah players appeared frustrated and dejected.
Then Corbin got creative, going small and turning to an unorthodox lineup that featured one quasi-center (Jefferson) and four guards (Harris, Earl Watson, Raja Bell, C.J. Miles). The Jazz turned on the jets and soared. Harris split the lane, Miles buried back-to-back 3-pointers, and Jefferson finished the run with six straight points.
Utah outscored Toronto 24-8 down the stretch. And instead of heading to Minnesota defeated and carrying a poor 0-2 start during a crucial four-game road trip, the Jazz pulled off their 14th victory this season when trailing by as much as 10 points.
It was the type of win that hearkened back to November and the Deron Williams days, when Utah regularly pulled off thrilling comebacks and began the season with a sparkling 27-13 record.