Raptors Rapid Recap - Toronto 106 - Atlanta 105


-There have been plenty of games Toronto fans probably felt their team should have won this year, only to see the team crumble down the stretch.  Tonight, on St. Patrick's Day, it was bizzarro world for these same fans as the Dinos put on an impressive final five minute stretch drive to snatch a victory from the Joe Johnson-less Hawks, 106 to 105.  Chris Bosh, after a miserable first three quarters, was huge down the stretch, and hit the eventual game-winner off an isolation play drawn up by Jay Triano.

-Big men on campus for the Raps tonight?  How about the entire team, which started strong, suffered some major malaise in the middle, and then locked-in to finish things off when they needed to.  Andrea Bargnani was the high point man with 22 points but also surprisingly led the team in rebounding with 11.  Hedo Turkoglu looked much more like the $53 Millioin Dollar Man with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, and the club got 19 big points from rookie DeMar DeRozan.  DeRozan's defence wasn't great, more on that in a minute, but his aggressiveness was huge in this one, and others like Jack, Calderon, Weems and Johnson all played some big minutes at times.

-Atlanta was without Joe Johnson and therefore it was the Jamal Crawford show.  Crawford had 33 points off the bench, mostly at the expense of DeRozan, and looked to be single-handily taking ATL to the win.  However the rest of his bench-mates scored only 5 points and that was one of the key differences in the end tonight.  Yes Smith, Horford, Evans and Bibby ranged from solid to fantastic on the evening, but there just wasn't enough bench help.

-It's hard to know what to take from this win as a fan however.  Bosh looked borderline disinterested through most of this (he took his first foul shot with a few minutes left in the game), Toronto's 3-point D was again invisible (Hawks were 11 of 18 from downtown), and the Jose for Jack switch in the starting line-up didn't seem to have much effect...probably to no one's surprise.  However after looking ready to collapse in the third quarter, it was indeed inspiring to see the team bounce back the way they did.  Let's hope this is a sign of things to come, and a turning point for the remainder of the season.

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