We start with kudos to Rogers Sportsnet who did the right thing and postponed showing the end of a tennis match in favour of showing the Raptors on time. TSN has screwed over the Raptors in the past for meaningless college bowl games and even NLL Lacrosse games. Sportsnet actually showing Raptor fans an element of respect. Now replace Leo with Jack Armstrong and I could be in love with this network. It is the only major sports network that I have yet to cash a check from so you never know. But for now the DNB is independently owned and operated. Speaking of jobs, Barbosa now works for the Pacers and Sam Young for the Sixers. While both Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph return to work tonight.
After Memphis took a 4-0 lead the Raptors would fight back and take the lead on Jerryd Bayless first shot of the night a 3 ball to make it 7-6. Grizzlies were wearing some hideous throw back uniforms and were not talking the teal ones with angry bear from Vancouver days. These were yellow and green and ugly as hell. Still it is not how you look it is if you win or lose. In that regard Gasol scored to give the Grizzlies the lead back in this one. Bargnani with some good defense and it angered Marreese Speights and he would get a technical foul. Raptors to their credit and the dismay of the idiots that still see tanking as good idea, were hanging around in this one leading 16-14 with 4:43 to go in the 1st. Raptors kept things rolling as DeRozan drove to the hoop and scored to make it 22-18 with just over a minute to play. The returning Zack Randolph barreled his way to the who and scored and made the and 1 free throw he picked up along the way. Demar DeRozan closed out a solid first quarter for him making the final shot to give the Raps a 26-24 lead after one. Demar had 12 points was 5-8 shooting and had a couple dimes as well.
Considering it was his first game back in quite awhile, Z-Bo looked in pretty good form not much rust. He was in the middle of everything early in the 2nd. Gave the Grizzlies the lead at the line 29-28, after Amir Johnson hit on the head like one of those gophers that pop up in the old arcade/carnival game. Gary Forbes was one of the guys that should see more time with Barbosa's departure. Nails a big three to give the Raptors a 33-29 lead. After the Grizz split a pair at the line Bargnani got his 3 ball game going and it was 36-30. Raptors got away with an over and back on a pass by Amir Johnson and he would get an offensive rebound as well but the Raptors couldn't cash in. Instead of being up 7 or 8 the Raptors would be up 3 as Rudy Gay also back after a mild concussion nailed a jumper making it 37-34 Raptors. Both Bayless and Forbes each had 8 points and were on the floor together. Still no Jose Calderon but Raps using both their options and point guard together. Grizz were starting to try and get it together as Gasol scored to make it a one point game. They had a chance to take the lead but Gasol would throw it away on the flashy pass. Raptors were doing a solid job wrestling these Grizzly Bears with a 47-46 halftime lead. It should have been a 4 point lead but a sloppy pass by Bargnani is picked and Memphis hits a buzzer beater 3.
Raptors have a sloppy possession as Gasol blocks a shot but eventually ball ends up in Bargnani's hands and he nails a long two. James Johnson would extend the lead to five points as the Raptors had first two baskets of the 2nd half. Mike Conley nailed a jumper to end a 6-0 start for the Raptors. Andrea Bargnani had not had his 3 ball working till tonight since returning, he nails another one making it a 9-2 start to the half for the Raptors. Make it 11-4 with a James Johnson basket and it was 60-50 Raptors. While most of the world was enjoying Duke dying a horrible death in the NCAA tournament, the Raptors kept chugging along looking for their own upset on a lesser level. They had lead up to 12 before a Memphis three made it 67-58 Raptors. A turnover and Zach Randolph dunk cut the lead to 7 points and cause Dwane Casey to call a time out. Time out could not stop the One Man Gang that was Zach Randolph who scored again. Memphis had picked it up on defense as well it was 67-62 Raptors. Bayless nails a much needed three to try and fight off this Grizzlies push getting the lead back to eight. It was more like a band aid though as the Grizzlies made back to back baskets and had lead down to 4. Raptors again another of those brain cramps up 5 appeared to commit a foul just prior to the buzzer. Refs would review it so score after 3 was for now Raptors 72 and Grizzlies 67 subject to change.
It would change as Grizz would go to the line and .6 seconds was added to the clock. Both free throws count and it is only a 3 point lead instead of 5. Little mistakes that if the Raptors go on to lose this game will be the difference. Jaamal Maglorie gets nailed with a flagrant foul add that to the stupid mistakes. But it ends up not costing the Raptors but not a smart decision. Raptors got it going again and after a great first Demar had done little, but came out to play with a jumper to make it a 77-71 Raptors lead. Amir Johnson follows that with a rain making jumper that went in and the Raptors had a 8-0 run and 79-71 lead. The broadcast was giving love to Jaamal Magloire. I say screw him and give some to Gary Forbes with a couple big buckets to keep Raptors on top. Jaamal meantime takes a stupid charge and goes back to the bench where he belongs. Raptors were hanging tough up 86-79 with 5:40 to play. Bargnani makes 2 at the line and with under 5 to play the Raptors were up 88-80. Marc Gasol was taking over for Z-Bo in dominating the action. He stepped to the line and mad a pair to give him 24 on the night and cut lead to 6.
This was heading toward a March Madness like finish potentially Raptors lead was down to 5. But maybe not as James Johnson got an NBA style continuation call, count the basket and the and 1 and lead was 8. Still the Raptors had no answer for Gasol as he scores to cut it to 6 with just under 3 to play. Demar with a clutch mid-range jumper makes the lead 8 once more. Bayless the blow by to the hoop with under 2 to play restores the 8 point lead. Z-Bo was back and he scores and Amir Johnson gets called for a foul as well. Could not hit the and one though. Raptors commit a turnover though and Z-Bo draws a foul on Bargnani and heads back to the line. He misses another and hits the 2nd to make it a 95-90 game in favour of the Raptors. Another turnover and Raptors again not closing out a quarter correctly. Gasol this time drawing a foul on Amir as it is a parade to free throw line for Memphis. He makes both with 42.5 seconds left and it was 95-92. This was NBA Style March Madness with a lot more on the line for Grizzlies in the Western Conference playoff race. Bayless almost turned it over but got the ball back and gets the lay up down the open lane 97-92. James Johnson lost a shoe and lost his man and Grizzlies score quick and it was three point game again with 22 seconds left. Bayless is fouled right away and heads to the line. He misses the first and makes the second to make it a two possession game. Grizz miss their initial shot but Z-Bo cleaned up the mess and scored to cut the lead to a deuce with about 14 seconds left. So Bayless is fouled and the Refs decide to add .7 seconds to the clock leaving 13.7 to play. That could mean something. Bayless 2 for 2 this time and makes it 5 point lead. Grizz get a quick three from Rudy Gay and Bargnani is fouled with 6.6 to play. Even if he makes both Grizz could tie with a three. He does and it is 102-99 Raps. James Johnson decides to foul that is one way to avoid a three. But that was not what Dwane Casey had in mind. Johnson had fouled out. Still 5.7 seconds left and Conley missed the first at the line and makes the second. Forbes is now fouled with a two point lead and 5.4 seconds to play. Makes the first and the key second one he missed. Rudy Gay nails a 3 and this game was tied with 0 on the clock but Refs were huddled and may be adding time to the clock. If not were heading to over time.
Regardless of how this turns out Raptors closing of quarters has been brutal on this night. The verdict would be .5 added to the clock. Raptors inbounding from their baseline. Refs were again conferencing and making a mess out of this. Raps did get a chuck up from Bargnani but it didn't fall. O.T here we come tied at 103. Gary Forbes drives and got a foul on Rudy Gay. His 6th and he joins James Johnson as a spectator. Forbes missed one that got us to OT and he misses one to start overtime. Mayo now was heading to the line on a foul on DeRozan. he makes both and Memphis has it's first lead since 29-28. They had a chance to add to it and turned the ball over on travel. Bayless misses a fading jumper and Forbes get the rebound and throws it back in for a career high 20. It was 106-105 Toronto with Austin 3:16 left in OT number 1. The strange things continue as Mayo misses a dunk. DeRozan drives on the other end and doesn't get a foul call. Raps and Grizz trade bucket and it was 108-107 Raps. Randolph would score and Bayless would answer it was 110-109. Let's add to fun as Andrea Bargnani with a huge rebound. Why not and Raptors have the ball up one with just under 1:30 to play. Bargnani misses a shot but Tony Allen fumbles the ball out of bounds. Gary Forbes has the ball stripped and Bayless bails him out on the other end drawing a charge with under a minute to go. Bayless misses a jumper and DeRozan picks up a foul with 26.7 to play. Amir Johnson alter a shot and got the rebound he might have blocked it but it happened fast. Bayless would be sent to the line and would make both but there was a lane violation on the 2nd? Apparently so Bayless foot was over the line on the 2nd? Well that leaves it a 2 point game with Raptors up 111-109 with 15.7 to play in OT number one. Memphis than gets called for the often done but never called carry in the NBA. This would end up with Amir Johnson at the line with 9.4 seconds left. Made the first missed the 2nd and it was 112-109 with 8.8 seconds left. So now Conley is fouled by Bayless in the act of shooting a 3? To the replay booth and this game may never end. 4.8 second left in OT number 1. It would be three free throws for Mike Conley. Bayless would also be out of the game with his 6th foul joining Johnson and Gay on the sidelines. First is made...Second is not and now will he try to miss the 3rd...he does but it ends up out of bound Raps ball with 3.8 seconds to play. Raptors after a time out can't inbound the ball but unlike earlier in the season with Butler the Raps do get a time out called in this one. DeRozan is fouled as he attempted to catch the inbound pass. Demar end this insanity please!!! And he does with two clutch free throws and that is it....114-110....Raps win!!! I am dead tired. So check the box score for all the goodies.