Talk about Reversal of Fortunes. The Raptors played very well in the first 3 quarters and almost gave away the game in the fourth quarter, but manage to hang on to win by 11 points. Usually, it’s the other way around, the Raptors would play 3 uninspiring quarters on defense and then go on a run in the 4th to win the game.
Let’s start from the beginning, the Raptors attacked from the start and the 76ers didn’t defend the paint very well. Calderon must have thrown 3 alley oop passes in a row at one point. The Raps scored 50 points at the half, 40 of those in the painted area.
Then the third quarter started. I have seen teams quit in the middle of a game, but I have never seen a coach quit before. This is the closest I have come to seeing one. 76ers were just playing some of the most horrific basketball, barely resembling a professional basketball team. The Raptors just destroyed them on fast break after fast break. And Jordon didn’t call a time out at all. He just sat there, and with little emotion. The 76ers didn’t call a timeout till 1:48 left in the quarter.
Then Marco Belinelli came into the game and change the momentum, and not in a good way. A horrible night for Belinelli, he has more fouls than points and rebounds combine. The 76ers cut it down to 15 after 3 quarters.
The Raptors then did their best to let the 76ers come back. Their offensive sets were terrible. They couldn’t hit any free throws. The 76ers were playing like there is nothing to lose, and then Lou Williams got hot and the game was tied at 93. Then the Raptors buckled down and went on a 11-0 run to finish the game.
I was at the game tonight, and I am not sure how it plays on TV, but Reggie Evans got the biggest ovation of anyone who hasn’t played a regular season game yet. He was hustling tonight, and bring some energy to this team. The crowd chanted “We want Reggie” at the end of the third quarter as well.
I am going to say one thing about the 76ers, more specifically Elton Brand. Brand looked really old tonight, he has no lift left, he can’t jump anymore, he looked like he is over 300 pounds. When I was watching him lumbering around the court, I was thinking Shawn Kemp. Even though Brand never had that kind of hops that Kemp posessed in his prime, he could still do finish around the basket. Brand couldn’t do much tonight; he was a turnover machine (4 with limited touches), and on defense he was a pylon. It’s very sad to see a guy who used to be really good, now just lumbering around like this. 76ers fans, I do feel your pain.
Keys to the win.
- Attack the paint. The Raptors didn’t shoot a lot of 3 tonight mostly because the 76ers gave them full access to the painted area. The help defense was non existent for the 76ers tonight.
- Aggressive on defense. The 76ers turned the ball over 19 times tonight. A lot of times the Raps packed the painted area and the 76ers couldn’t do much since they couldn’t hit a 3.
- Composure down the stretch. The 76ers tied it at 93-93. But the Raptors didn’t fold. While they lacked the killer instinct to put the 76ers away earlier, they did show enough poise that they scored 11 straight points and played some good defense in the end.
29-23. A good record going to the all-star break. And the Celtics lost, and now only 4 games up on the Raptors.
Tags: Toronto Raptors