3/17/12

Raptors Terrible Third Quarter Costs Them A Win.

So if the fact the Raptors went to overtime was not enough, they also were not able to fly to Memphis till today. Getting to the arena just after 4:45 pm for a 7pm tip. Still more drama as the arena was evacuated for a fire alarm at 5:30pm. So to say this is a bizarre set of circumstances heading into this game would be an understatement. No Jose Calderon in this one as the Raptors look to Tuesday as a possible return date for him. Andrea Bargnani might be used sparingly today as well given the added minutes and issues in getting to Charlotte. The Raptors under much more friendlier circumstances dropped a contest earlier in the season to the Bobcats. So will see what happens today.

Aaron Gray gets the scoring started after the Raptors open the game with a stop on defense. Raptors had a couple chances to add to that but both DeRozan and James Johnson could not make it happen. Bayless looked to be keeping things rolling after last night, he nailed a big 3 and opened up a 9-4 advantage. Gerald Henderson shows why people have been waiting for him to explode into a superstar with a great dunk. In much less athletic fashion Aaron Gray replies and it was 13-8 Raptors. After Charlotte rattled off 4 points another Bayless three pointer made it a 16-12 contest. It wouldn't be Bayless without some head shaking moments, with a clean lane for a lay up he decided to kick the ball out and it would end up out of bound Charlotte basketball. Bobcats would take advantage and get this game tied at 16 with under 5 to play in the 3rd. Bayless was on fire from behind the arc though as he cashed in a Kleiza pass for his 3rd three in as many tries. He would press is luck an attempt a 4th in transition and that was not a good idea. Raptors offense was humming shooting 60% and Linas Kleiza would add to that with a nice mid range jumper that goes swish. Raptors were up 23-18 and looking good early. DeRozan had a chance to add to it and missed a pair of free throws at the line. DeRozan would make up for that with his own highlight reel dunk. Raptors had built a 9 point lead and needed a stop to head to end of the first with that lead. Which they would get. A Kleiza buzz heave would not fall so make it 29-20 after one.

Bobcats shot 27.8% in the first, part of that is them and the fact they stink but give Raptor credit for some good defense as well. Kemba Walker was taking abuse from Leo Rautin for his green and yellow kicks but more importantly he was struggling on the floor. Raptors were not messing around building a 35-20 lead and given the situation they might need that big lead later. However the way the Bobcats were playing they might not. D.J White would try to fire up his troops and crowd that would be luck if it was 5,000 with a big jam. Hard to believe this city once led the NBA in attendance back in the days when Hornets were buzzing in hive. Kleiza hit a step back 3 pointer after the Bobcats showed some signs of life. Linas was lighting it up he had 11 and Raptors were up 42-28 midway through the 2nd quarter. Raptors weathered to little Bobcat uprising pretty well and still led 49-37 with just over 3 to play. I might have spoke to soon some sloppy turnovers and Bobcats were back to single digits down 51-43. Bayless again passed on scoring and left an ugly drop off that works as Aaron Gray finished it off. Raptors lead 53-43 at the halftime break.

Bismack with the big smacking slam to get things rolling in the 2nd half. Then Cory Maggette on his 12th NBA team (Exaggeration for effect) with a big three and the Raptors lead was cut in half like that. Bayless with a crazy floater over Biyombo you can mambo if you want too. Bargnani would mambo he would just dunk on the Bobcats rookie. Gerald Henderson with a silky smooth jumper made it just a 5 point lead again at 57-52. Bismack Biyombo would draw the Cats even closer with a bucket. D.J Augustin would complete the comeback with a 3 and the Bobcats led for first time all night 59-57. A Kleiza airball on the baseline jumper was not going to help. Jaamal Magloire was an all-star 8 years ago in this city. Today he was playing because Aaron Gray was in foul trouble and actually had a dunk. While the parade for that was rolling through the Bobcats kept rolling and now had a 9 point advantage up 70-61. Things were not getting any better for the Raptors as they were making to many mistakes and the Bobcats lead was growing. Raptors would face an 81-67 scoreline to overcome heading to the 4th quarter.

Bobcats were now shooting above 50% after being below 30% after one. Bayless was frustrated but was at least one guy on the floor not ready to give up. But you forgive me if I have as the Raptors looked tired and lethargic and were turning the ball over faster than bar selling green beers. But this was the Bobcats and they can turn it over better than anyone and were proving it. Still they had a 10 point lead and it was really going to take some effort for them to blow this one. Like I said Bayless was not giving up as he hits a three and this was a Peyton Manning touchdown from being tied. Sorry think NFL Network cut in on the re-cap their. Bobcats got the lead back to 11 and this game was looking like it was going to be win lucky win number seven for the Bobcats and two of those coming at the hands of the Raptors. The first on was inexcusable this one today had some legit excuses. Still it doesn't make the fact the Raptors were on the way to 0-2 vs Bobcats feel any better. This was all but done except for the final score.

Some how, some way the Raptors after being down as many as 14 found their way back to down just 5 with 45 seconds left. Bobcats are bad granted but how this happened is a bit of a mystery. Bobcats would make a couple free throws and make it is 7 point lead. But a silly foul after a DeRozan missed three allowed Amir Johnson to get it to 5 point game with clock stopped. Raptors got a steal jacked a couple threes and missed both. That should just about do it or not..Raptors kept possession and Bayless nailed a three with 11.7 seconds left. Bayless was forced to foul out and had 29 points and seat for the final 9.9 seconds left in this one with Raptors down just 105-103. D.J Augustin made both free throws so now this was over right? It was as DeRozan missed a 3 badly and that would do it as Charlotte got the ball and whipped it down court. Make the final 107-103 Bobcats.

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