Raptors Get Hot Early, Survive Late Against Heat
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November 20, 2009
TORONTO (CP) - Jarrett Jack stepped up his game just in time to save the Toronto Raptors.
The backup point guard scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including two important three-pointers, as the Raptors withstood the Miami Heat's comeback attempt to score a 120-113 victory before a crowd of 19,800 at the Air Canada Centre.
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 29 points and 12 rebounds while Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers each scored 30 for Miami. Former Raptor Jermaine O'Neal added 17 for Miami.
The Raptors led by 20 points, 69-49 at the half, but the Heat whittled the lead to one point twice in the fourth quarter - at 100-99 with 3:44 left in the game and at 102-101 with 3:27 left.
Andrea Bargnani. who scored 24 points, hit a three-pointer to put the Raptors ahead 105-101 with 3:13 left.
And then Jack, who signed with Toronto as a free agent after playing last season with the Indiana Pacers, came through with his three-pointers on a pair of 23-foot jumpers.
His first three of the quarter came off a pass from Bargnani with 1:48 left and made it 110-103 and his second with 51.9 seconds left came on a pass from Hedo Turkoglu. That one gave the Raptors some breathing room at 115-103. Jack had three three-pointers for the game.
``I've got great teammates,'' Jack said. ``They're the same shots I've been getting all season and they've been preaching to me all season to'' 'Keep shooting it, keep shooting it. Why aren't you shooting it?'
``They've been a positive influence on me since I've been here. I'm just thankful they are still finding me when I'm open.''
Jack who has not yet started a game for Toronto, is averaging 7.1 points a game after Friday.
``We never had any doubts that's why we kept playing him,'' Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. ``We've said that too him, too: 'Keep playing, you're going to get to know your teammates, little bit better. I'm going to give you a little bit of confidence and play you with Jose (Calderon) at times.'''
He also was used to guard Wade, who complemented the play of the Raptors after the game.
``They are very tough, much like the Phoenixes and Orlandos,'' Wade said. ``They are a high-powered offensive team. Very tough on defence and, as I said before the game, they had a tough schedule going out West a lot so that is why their record does not show how good they are.''
Bargnani is a good shooter himself, but had no hesitation in passing to Jack, who was in the corner for his first three-pointer of the fourth quarter.
``It was great to see him making the extra pass,'' Jack said. ``He's really got confidence. I'm glad I came through for him.''
The Raptors were coming home after going 1-3 on a Western Conference swing and had played seven of their previous eight games on the road. The Raptors are 4-1 at home and 6-7 overall.
Before the game, Triano had warned the team about having a letdown on the return home.
In the first half they showed no signs of that possibility and shot 68.3 per cent from the floor to the Heat's 41 per cent. The 69 points were their season's best for a half. The Raptors shot 57.7 per cent for the game.
Triano didn't feel his team let Miami back in the game as much as the Heat whittled away at the lead.
``What happened was two possessions we come down, get fouled and only make free throw,'' Triano said. ``Then they come down and make a three. They chipped away at it that way. Then you miss a shot and they make another one and all of a sudden it's 13 and that is disappointing.
``But when we shoot 58 per cent for the game, we keep moving the basketball and weather the storm, I have to be happy with the result.''
NOTES: Raptors swingman Antoine Wright did not play Friday night because of a sore left ankle. He also missed the loss to Utah on Wednesday with the same injuryaMiami swingman Quentin Richardson did not play because of a back injury. The Raptors play their next two games at home, Sunday against Orlando and Tuesday against Indiana before visiting Charlotte on Wednesday.