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Daily Raptor Dish - 18.02.10
Raptors fail to slam door
“He’s a big guy and I think people underestimate how long he is,” Antoine Wright said of Gay. “Once a guy like that, with the type of skills he has, gets going there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it. He can jump over everyone and he has a high release so it’s tough to affect his shot. But we just have to do a better job of not letting him catch the ball and forcing him out further away from the spot that he likes to get the ball.”
Gay actually made his way into the Raptors locker-room after the game to apologize to Wright. It was Gay’s errant elbow that cut Wright for three stitches forcing him to miss 21/2 minutes of the final 41/2 while he was stitched up.
“I’ve known Rudy for a long time,” Wright said. “He knows I was going to hunt him down if he didn’t come in here and apologize.”
Among the missing in action Wednesday was Hedo Turkoglu but no one in the Raptors room was going to fault him.
Turkoglu rushed back to Turkey last Wednesday before the all-star break started to attend to a family crisis. While the nature of that family situation has not been made public, his teammates are well aware of it and were cutting him all kinds of slack Wednesday night.
Turkoglu himself admitted he wasn’t quite himself Wednesday night contributing just one point in just over 29 minutes and missing all five of his field-goal attempts.
“My mind is still kind of back home worrying about the things I’ve been through the past few days,” Turkoglu said. “I came out and tried to do my best but sometimes you can’t do the things you want when your mind is not there.”
Raptors let one slip away against Grizzlies
Not that you could blame the operators, but midway through the second quarter, the videoboard operators threw up a promo for Saturday's game against the Washington Wizards. The problem: It was Chris Bosh vs. Antawn Jamison, who was dealt to Cleveland in a three-player deal on Wednesday.
Through three quarters, three individual members -- Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems -- of the Raptors reserves were single-handedly outscoring the entire Memphis bench.
NO SURPRISES HERE
Jay Triano had his full complement of players for the first time all season at his disposal. He made the expected decision on the inactive list where he had guard Marcus Banks and centre Patrick O'Bryant.
Hedo Turkoglu played his second game with the protective facemask covering the fractured orbital bone under his right eye and looked even less comfortable than he did the first time he wore it a week ago Sunday.
Raptors fall to ‘Griz in OT
Under no circumstances could they allow a three-pointer. The perimeter had to be guarded above all else; they could live with a two, turn the game into a free-throw shooting contest and probably put away the pesky Memphis Grizzlies.
So what do they do?
Give up a wide-open, uncontested three to O.J. Mayo that set in motion a chain of events that ended with a 109-102 overtime loss at the Air Canada Centre.
It was the most costly of many brain cramps the Raptors suffered as their home winning streak came to a screeching halt at eight games.
"Missed coverage," was how coach Jay Triano tersely summed it up, not at all interested in publicly identifying the culprit. "We missed it. We knew that we were going to go for a three, we had our coverages and we just didn't react the way we were supposed to react."
And from that point on, the game spiralled out of control.
Raptors return from break with a thud
Hedo Turkoglu is wearing a mask to protect a broken bone under his right eye, but there is no covering up the emotional turmoil the Toronto Raptors forward has endured over the last week or so.
Turkoglu was excused from Toronto’s final game before the all-star break (Feb. 10 against the Philadelphia 76ers) so he could tend to a “family illness” back home in Istanbul. He rejoined the Raptors last Tuesday, and had one practice under his belt before last night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies .
The inactivity, combined with the stress of a private family matter, was obviously weighing on Turkoglu as he struggled mightily in Toronto’s 109-102 overtime loss to the Grizzlies (27-26) before 16,829 fans at the Air Canada Centre.
The win halted the Grizzlies’ five-game losing skid, while snapping the Raptors’ win string at three. It was Toronto’s first loss in its last nine home games.
Turkoglu’s failures were easy to point out, misfiring on all five of his field-goal attempts and scoring just one point on a free throw, while turning the ball over three times in less than 30 minutes of playing time. But Toronto head coach Jay Triano was not about to throw the big off-season acquisition under the bus.
“He wasn’t the only guy who struggled,” Triano said. “When you think about what he’s gone through the last week, instead of knocking him down, we’ve got to try and pick him up and get him back in the fold with us.
“He’s a big part of this team and he will be going forward. And it’s not like you can’t play him. He’s going to be on the floor when the games matter.”
Memphis Grizzlies go late to snap streak, take Toronto Raptors, 109-102
Rudy Gay, though, was the big problem in overtime. The athletic forward scored eight points in the extra period, taking advantage of the Raptors switching shorter guard Jose Calderon on to him a few times.
"We didn't have an answer tonight," Triano said. Rudy made some great drives. We're still playing a guy on the perimeter. He rises up and makes three buckets in a row that were the difference in the game, really.
"Our switching late in games has been pretty beneficial to us late in games. Tonight it didn't work."
The Raptors' bench, which outscored Memphis' reserves 43-9, appeared to have the game won for Toronto.
Calderon came in for an ineffective Jarrett Jack and had 12 points and nine assists. Amir Johnson added 10 points and four rebounds. And Sonny Weems was infinitely better than Turkoglu.
“I was just reacting to them,” Gay said. “We ran the same play and kept getting something out of it. This was definitely one of those games that if we felt sorry for ourselves, we would have given up. But we knew we needed a win.”
Chris Bosh gave Toronto a 97-92 lead with 37.9 seconds left in regulation, but the Griz stormed back.
Hollins called a timeout and then Mayo calmly sank a 3-pointer.
“It was drawn up for me to make a shot or make a play,” Mayo said. “I thought if they switched I was definitely putting it up.”
When the Raptors’ defense shifted to Randolph floating toward the basket, Mayo was left with a clean look for the long-range dagger. Andrea Bargnani then missed a 21-footer that Griz point guard Mike Conley rebounded.
“We knew what we had to do,” said Conley, who had 13 points and eight assists.
Conley finished his second straight game without a turnover. No pass was bigger than the one he delivered to a streaking Randolph, who tied the score at 97 on a fast-break layup with 1.9 seconds left in regulation.
Randolph played much of the fourth quarter and all of overtime with five fouls. Griz center Marc Gasol also played through foul trouble.
“We showed a lot of mental toughness,” Mayo said. “We came out playing hard and playing together. We put out big effort and got a big win.”
The Raptors’ defensive lapse on Mayo’s shot stymied a 32-point, 10-rebound effort by Bosh, and a would-be come-from-behind victory. Memphis led by as many as 16 points in the first half.
Memphis made six of its first seven shots. The Griz also didn’t turn the ball over while the Raptors misfired on their first five attempts and committed two turnovers in the opening minutes.
“The key is to get back to learning about how we play instead of worrying about winning,” Hollins said, adding: “The things we were doing (during the losing streak) weren’t giving ourselves a chance to win. We gave ourselves a chance to win this game.”
Sunshine Girl – 18.02.10
RF Girl of the Day – Jessica Burciaga
SUNshine Girl Lilly is a super girl. The 18-year-old brown-eyed native of Edmonton loves comic books. Her favourite activities include badminton and volleyball and leaping tall buildings in a single bound.