NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 21:
Toronto Raptors 99 at Utah Jazz 131
Oh Canada! You deserve a better NBA team during the NHL lockout . . .
No Al Jefferson? No Derrick Favors (Favours, even!)? No Problem.
I'm not going to lie, this game started off in the worst possible way. Both clubs were noted for putting the other team to the line (instead of playing defense), and what the referees did early was devise a proxy war against basketball fans. There were so many fouls, and as a result, there was no flow. No flow = no energy. No energy = no fans. And no fans = no 'Solution. And if there's no energy at home, then it's like we're playing on the road. Paul Millsap picked up two early fouls and was relegated to the bench. Things were looking bad, and the team was playing poorly. Glad that stretch ended.
The Raptors went on a 13-1 run midway through the first and it was an ugly game. Tyrone Corbin brought in Jeremy Evans, Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, and Mr. Energy himself (DeMarre Carroll) and we never looked back. The Jazz went on an 8-0 run and then we bombarded the Raps with spectacular three point shooting, and ball sharing. The team went 13/23 from downtown (56.5 3pt%) and had taken control by halftime, and pushed Toronto to the brink of extinction.
The game was changed completely by the hustle of DeMarre Carroll, determination of Gordon Hayward, inside/outside game of Marvin Williams (playing a bunch of Euro PF), and domination by Enes Kanter. Kanter got his first start of his NBA career (and went up against Jonas Valanciunas -- a dude a number of people thought we SHOULD have picked with the #3 pick) and responded with 18 points and 8 rebounds. It's easy to single out players to laud, but it was a team win.
Toronto had some injuries to contend with DURING the game, but we were playing without two of our most talented players. We made it work by playing team ball -- and always looking for the extra pass. It goes to form though, when we don't have a focal point we're harder to defend. We were. And we scored 131 points in a non-overtime game.
Ultimately, this was a game where the refs tried to take control early, but we played team ball and won the game. I don't think you can expect to make 60% of your threes every game, so I wouldn't hold this as the standard to follow. But there were tons of good things from this game -- more to come in the LONG game recap.