Gary Forbes when asked if he had ever been involved in a game as crazy as last night's:
"Maybe in Brooklyn somewhere, with money on the line"
"It was like deja vu, all over again."
Yep, it was a strange night in Memphis.
The Toronto Raptors upset the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, 114 to 110, in one of the most bizarre games I've seen the Dinos play in quite some time.
Toronto had a 91 to 83 lead with about three minutes left, and looked to be in control of a game they had no business really of winning. Memphis had gotten to the free-throw line about a 100 times more than Toronto, but just wasn't knocking them down and it appeared that TO had this one in the bag.
Even as the Grizz made a bit of a run, getting to within five with about a minute left, it looked like a case of "too little, too late."
And then the Madness started.
Andrea Bargnani got called for a backcourt violation, a rare occurrence for sure, giving the ball back to the Grizz. Memphis big man Marc Gasol got fouled on the next possession, hit both free-throws, and suddenly it was a three-point game.
But Jerryd Bayless knocked down a 2, keeping the distance of five, alive, and with 24 seconds left, the win looked secure.
The Grizz kept coming and both teams traded foul shots until Rudy Gay banged down a 3-pointer with seven seconds left, to get Memphis within a point.
And with Gary Forbes making only one of two free-throws with about five seconds left, it opened the door for more Rudy heroics, and he promptly delivered, hitting another 3, nearly at the buzzer to send it to OT.
And the Madness continued from there.
Missed dunks, free-throws, and some ridiculous refereeing kept this one going well into the night as one sequence saw the extremely rare "lane violation" and "carry" calls being called.
However even though both teams did their best to give the W to their opponent (Memphis hit only 31 of 51 free throw attempts), Toronto eventually stood ahead in the box score when the final horn rang.
Couple this with one of the biggest days of upsets in NCAA history (seven double-digit seeds won yesterday) and wow, you'd have thought it was a full moon.
However madness aside, let's talk tank for a second. The game was a perfect opportunity for the Raptors to grab another L, especially since lottery competitors like Detroit, New Jersey and Washington all lost. They've got a chance to redeem themselves tonight in Charlotte though, as while the 'Cats have but six wins, Toronto is likely going into this one SLIGHTLY fatigued. Besides the bizarre match last night and extended game, the team's flight out from Memphis last night experienced mechanical issues, and they had to stay in the land of Elvis, flying out to Charlotte early this AM.
Not exactly conducive to winning basketball games 14 hours or so later.
Add in the fact that Charlotte beat Toronto already this year and who knows what happens this evening.
However here are three things that I think Raptors' fans should be keeping an eye on in this match, regardless of outcome.
1) Jerryd Bayless' play. Bayless was pretty solid last night. He had a few bonehead plays (including fouling Mike Conley Jr. on a 3-point attempt with the Raps only up three) but overall, he did a good job leading his club. Casey post-game remarked that Bayless was in every huddle telling his guys to fight it out, something you definitely want out of your lead guard. He was a solid 9 of 17 from the field, finished with 9 assists to 3 turnovers, and even grabbed six rebounds. He's still no Jose in terms of seeing the floor and making decisions, but minus Leandro Barbosa, we may really see the player Bryan Colangelo hoped he was getting when he traded for him last year.
2) Gary Forbes' play. Speaking of no Leandro, how about Mr. Forbes? 20 points in 22 minutes on a very efficient 6 of 9 evening, including some big plays in key moments for TO. His ability to get to the rim and create off the bounce was a big factor in this win as he got to the free-throw line a team-high 11 times. Minus Barbosa, we may see the former UMASS star blossom, especially playing at his normal shooting guard position, and it would be a huge boost to go into next season with solid bench options in he and Bayless at the 1-2 spots. Let's see if he can continue last night's performance, this evening against a woeful Bobcats' group.
3) Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. I know both finished with solid point totals in 18, but overall, neither put forth very consistent performances last night in Memphis. DeMar started off scoring, getting 12 of his 18 in the first quarter. But then he unfortunately went into invisible-mode again, reappearing only down the stretch. BUT...he did make some key plays in said final time period, knocking down big free throws, playing solid D and grabbing a few huge rebounds that would have given Memphis the second opps they needed for a win.
And Andrea did get to the line 9 times, but 4 of 17 shooting from the field? Yikes. He's not accustomed to playing so many minutes for sure, his 39 last night DEFINITELY surpassed his "recovery allotment" but the team is going to need him to knock more of those shots down, starting tonight.