In a game without their leading scorer, top rebounder, starting point guard, starting small forward and top three-point threat, things didn't get much better for the Raptors when they lost Linas Kleiza to ejection in the third quarter and Jerryd Bayless to an ankle injury in the fourth.
But they held tough down the stretch by playing solid defence and when the Mavs did score, the Raps always had a counter punch. The game turned when Jason Kidd pulled Dallas to within 71-68 with 7:41 to play, but Leandro Barbosa responded with the first six points of an 8-0 Toronto run, which kept them ahead for good.
Ed Davis was forced into action early after two personals fouls to Joey Dorsey, but it proved to be a beneficial move as the rookie responded with a hot start and the finest game of his young career (17 pts, 6-8 FGM-A, 12 rebounds, three blocks, three steals).
"He's a guy that it looks like he's got a little motor, but when he plays a game like this and changes shots and goes after it and rebounds, you know you can do it," Triano said of a potential breakthrough for Davis. "I think with all rookies in the league, it's a matter of doing it 82 times."
Zero points but an indeterminable impact for Julian Wright in terms of the hustle and court vision he brought to Tuesday's win. Wright didn't force a thing offensively and his three assists don't accurately reflect how solid he was setting up teammates. He also played some staunch defence, including a crucial charge drawn against Caron Butler late.
Wright shares this distinction with Amir Johnson, who gutted it out through some serious back pain to contribute 12 points, six rebounds and a block in a whopping 42 minutes of work.
"We said before the game that we’ve got to take care of the basketball with guys playing out of position. I thought we did a better job, even though we had some shot clock violations, but that is us trying to use the ball on the offensive end. Ed (Davis) stepped up, Amir (Johnson) played well and I thought all three of our bigs played extremely well. I love the way that we guarded at the end of the game."
- Jay Triano, on the keys to victory
Fri., Dec. 31 @ Rockets
7 PM ET, Sportsnet One, FAN590
The Raptors aim to finish thir current road trip with a 2-1 record when they visit the Rockets on New Year's Eve in Houston. The Raptors earned decisive 106-96 win over the Rockets in Toronto back on Nov. 19 for a third straight home win in the series, but they've lost three in a row at Toyota Center. The Rockets are also surging with seven wins in their last eight and five in a row overall.
|973||Consecutive games with a 3-pointer for the Raptors, versus 968 for the Mavs|
|12/10||Double-double in pts/rebs for Ed Davis by halftime|
|20.2||PPG in last five games for Linas Kleiza as a starter|
|48-24||Points in the paint favouring the Raptors|
|10||Losing streak snapped against Mavs in Dallas by Raptors on Tuesday|
|"It’s a great team effort. I think everyone did their job. We’ve got to continue to hold our cool, there were T’s that were unnecessary but I think it was just the emotions of the game."|
- Jerryd Bayless, on the win
|"It was a disappointing loss, but I would credit Toronto more on their effort and how well they played. They won the game; we didn’t give it to them."|
- Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle on his team's defensive effort
|"Just tried to come out and give the team all the intangibles, the little things. Rebound, block shots, run the floor. Just all the small things."|
- Ed Davis, on his career night