Raptors keep rolling without Bosh
Balanced scoring, Bargnani's timely blocks lift Raptors to 109-104 win over Washington
Again without the services of resident all-star Chris Bosh, the Toronto Raptors kept the same game plan that worked so well in New Jersey on Friday.
Move the ball.
The Raptors forged ahead with six players in double figures to post a 109-104 come-from-behind win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.
"The most important thing we did tonight and last night is we shared the basketball," said Raptors head coach Jay Triano. "Without Chris where you can give it and you can make cuts off of him, and you know that he's going to create, we have to create without the basketball. We have to move and makes screens and roll hard."
Andrea Bargnani put up 18 points and made three clutch fourth-quarter blocks that cemented a late 12-0 run while Jarrett Jack put up 11 of his 23 points in the final quarter.
Those performances allowed the Raptors (31-24) to climb back into the game after surrendering a seven-point lead at the half and snag their ninth win at the ACC in their last 10 tries.
Jack led Toronto with 23 points and eight assists while Hedo Turkoglu (16 points, six rebounds), Antoine Wright (19 points, four rebounds), Jose Calderon (10 points, four assists, four rebounds) and Rasho Nesterovic (10 points) all finished in double figures.
The win snapped Toronto's three-game home losing streak to the Wizards, who were led by Andray Blatche's 24 points.
Bosh is still nursing a sprained left ankle from Wednesday's overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but the Raptors made do without the five-time all-star in similar fashion to Friday's win over the Nets in which six players put up 10 or more points.
"I think we just know how desperately we need to win these games going down the stretch, making the final push to the end of the season," Jack said.
The turning point of Saturday's game came with the trio of blocks by Bargnani as the 12-0 run put the Raptors back on top for good.
Bargnani says no
With 5:40 left in the game, the Wizards led by nine, but Jack hit a three-pointer and four straight free throws to trim that lead to two.
With Toronto down 100-98, Bargnani stuffed Blatche with 3:33 left to force the Wizards to commit a shot clock violation.
The next play saw Turkoglu get the hoop and the harm to put the Raptors up 101-100 with 3:13 remaining.
Next up for rejection was Randy Foye, who had his shot swatted away by the Raptors forward and converted into a dunk by Wright.
Another Washington possession, and another block by Bargnani — this time the victim was Al Thornton. The rebound was quickly gobbled up by Toronto and Turkoglu banked a short jumper off the glass to put his team up by the five points the Wizards simply couldn't match.
"Turkoglu made some big shots and Bargnani was great," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "We had about three times where he protected the rim and we didn't get shots up at the rim. Andray [Blatche], Josh [Howard] and Al [Thornton] each one missed a tip. That is three right there."
The two teams started the game at a furious offensive pace, with the hosts leading 64-57 at halftime.
Despite entering the second half with that that seven-point cushion, Toronto trailed 88-85 heading into the final quarter.
Washington jumped ahead in the third quarter on the strength of a 17-6 run that ended with Blatche's jumper to put them up 76-75 with 5:30 to go in the third quarter. The Wizards didn't trail again until Bargnani's defensive outburst.
with files from The Canadian Press