Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Toronto Raptors 104 at Brooklyn Nets 103 - January 27, 2014


Now that I am living in North America, my sports road trips are going to dwindle, but I still will attend games in the New York area. I want to avoid posting about those for the most part though as they are not that interesting. As an example, I went to see the St. Louis Blues at MSG last week, but the game was so dull that it wasn't worth writing about the experience. However, I will make exceptions for games when the visiting club is from Toronto, as those are more meaningful.

Last night the Raptors came into town to take on the Brooklyn Nets. A few hours before game time I found a single ticket on StubHub for $8. With these two teams battling for first place in the Atlantic (Toronto at 22-21, 1.5 games in front of the Nets at 20-22, so battling is overdoing it perhaps), I decided to buy the ticket and headed over to Barclays Center.



The game was one of the best I've seen and certainly the most entertaining Raptor game I've ever attended. Toronto sprung to an early 23-13 lead but that 10-point advantage would be the largest for either team on the night. By the end of the first quarter the Nets at recovered and led 26-25. The teams then stayed close through the second stanza, with an Alan Anderson trey giving the Nets at 56-54 lead with 1.3 seconds left. Then Kyle Lowry (below) sank a three-pointer of his own from 48' away (the other side of half in other words) and the Raptors had a one-point lead at the break.



The third quarter was even with the lead changing hands 5 times as both clubs notched 25 points. The fourth quarter saw Toronto take a 94-85 lead with 8 minutes to go, but Brooklyn fought back again, going on a 15-2 run culminating with Paul Pierce's 7th three of the night to send the crowd into a frenzy. The Raptors got within 2 and fouled Pierce who missed one of his shots. After Toronto's Greivis Vasquez drove for an easy layup to make it 101-100, both teams missed jumpers and it looked like Brooklyn had the game. But Vasquez stole the ball from Deron Williams with 22 seconds left and rather than call a timeout and set up for a final shot, he passed to Lowry who drove for the basket, only to be called for the charging foul as he ran into Williams, who did look set. Game over. Well, there was still 19.8 seconds to play, but when Pierce sank two free throws after being fouled on the inbounds play, it certainly looked like Toronto had come up short. John Salmons made an uncontested layup to get back within a point and the Nets took their final timeout. Then the unthinkable happened. Williams' inbound pass was picked off by Patrick Patterson, who gave it to Lowry, who gave it back to Patterson, who sank a twelve-footer to give Toronto the shocking 104-103 lead. The Nets were confused on the inbound play but lacking timeouts there was little they could do and Pierce's last second heave hit the rim, giving the Raptors an amazing win.



With the win, Toronto moved into third in the Eastern Conference, tied with Atlanta who lost to Oklahoma City. The league-leading Thunder are visiting Brooklyn on Friday and tickets are currently starting from $65 on StubHub. Hopefully they will drop as game time approaches, but there's no way I'll be getting in for $8.

Notes

With the assist on the winning basket, Kyle Lowry totalled 31 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. According to Elias Sports, no other NBA player has had a 30/5/5/5 game this season and the only three players to achieve the arbitrarily measured feat last season were Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Best,

Sean

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