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The Greatest Raptors Team Tournament: The Finals

Game #1: 2004-05 Toronto 108 at 2001-02 Toronto 110

Led by the 26 points and 12 rebounds of Antonio Davis, 01-02 held off a late charge by the 04-05 squad to take Game 1 of the Greatest Raptors Team Tournament finals 110-108.

01-02 led by six entering the fourth quarter. They extended the lead to ten on a vicious dunk by Davis with 9:53 to go before the 04-05 squad made an 11-2 run to cut the lead to one with 6:40 to play.

That is as close as they would get.

After a Carter jumper with 1:04 to go gave 01-02 an eight-point lead, Jalen Rose hit a three-pointer. Carter missed on the ensuing possession and Rose, who finished with a game-high 29 points launched an errant three. Loren Woods was there to tip in the miss and was fouled by Carter in the process.

However, with a chance to cut the lead to two, Woods missed the free throw. Down by three, 04-05 decided to play for the stop.

They didn’t get it.

With 2 seconds left on the shot clock, Hakeem Olajuwon knocked down a short jumper to give 01-02 a five-point lead. A Rose three pointer at the buzzer did nothing but make 04-05 bettors happy.

Game Notes: From the Not A Good Start Department: Rafer Alston was whistled for three in the key on the opening possession…Carter had 11 points in the third quarter….Alvin Williams was 1-8 from the floor for 01-02, but chipped in twelve assists…Alston also had 12 dimes, to go with 11 points…Morris Peterson was the “Microwave” for 01-02, dropping 12 points in ten minutes of action…If Peterson was the “Microwave”, Tracy Murray was the “Crockpot”, with 15 points in only 17 minutes of action…Keon Clark only saw six minutes of floor time, due to his continued conflicts with Coach Wilkens….Where’s the love for Donyell? Sam Mitchell continues to ignore the former UConn star, despite his 8 points in 8 minutes. I guess Aaron Williams is a better bet.

Game #2: 2004-05 Toronto 78 at 2001-02 Toronto 102

Pundits predicted at the outset of the series that, if Hakeem Olajuwon played to his potential, the 01-02 Raptors would have no trouble dispatching the upstart 04-05 squad.

After two games, it appears that the pundits are correct.

Olajuwon had his second straight strong game, dropping in 12 points and adding 8 rebounds, while stifling Chris Bosh on the defensive end, as 01-02 rolled to a 102-78 victory.

01-02 led 51-37 at the break before exploding in the third quarter. 01-02 opened the quarter on a 23-5 run, opening up a 32-point lead. They would end the quarter up by 31 and cruised the rest of the way.

Another developing story in this series is the play of Tracy Murray. After a 15 point effort in Game 1, Murray poured in 20 points in 22 minutes of action in Game 2. If 04-05 doesn’t find an answer for Tracy (Paging Lamond Murray), this series will be over in a hurry.

Perhaps the moment that defined the game for 04-05 came at the end of the third quarter. After Tracy Murray missed a shot, Rafael Araujo grabbed the rebound and immediately called timeout. Inbounding the ball at midcourt, Sam Mitchell inexplicably called a play for the Brazilian Beast. Araujo got the ball, took one step and then another and was called for traveling as the buzzer sounded.

Game Notes: Think the 04-05 Raptors wish they had Mike James? Rafer Alston is 1-14 from three-point range in the series…Bosh and Jalen Rose led 04-05 with 15 points…04-05 shot a mere 36.1% from the floor…Vince Carter had a game-high 27 for 01-02…Antonio Davis had his second straight double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds)…Davis also had a game-high seven assists…Sign spotted at the ACC: “FREE DONYELL”….Garbage time featured such stalwarts as Derrick Dial, Omar Cook, Jermaine Jackson and Mamadou “Freeway” N’diaye…

Game #3: 2001-02 Toronto 103 at 2004-05 Toronto 85

For the first twelve minutes of Game 3, it appeared that the 2004-05 Toronto Raptors were ready to make this a series.

Unfortunately, basketball games are 48 minutes long.

Rafer Alston seemed determined to make up for his awful showing in the first two games. The first quarter was his playground, as “Skip to My Lou” scored 12 points, while chipping in 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the stanza as 04-05 held a 30-24 advantage after one. It would be the only joyous moment for 04-05 fans all night.

The 04-05 Raptors were not able to sustain this solid play and folded in the second quarter, being outscored 33-13 en route to a 103-85 loss and a near insurmountable 3-0 series deficit.

Vince Carter led all scorers with 32 and chipped in 7 rebounds as he continued his case for Tournament MVP. Mr. Double Double, Antonio Davis, continued his yeoman’s work down low, with a 15 point, 14 rebound evening.

Game Notes: Five 01-02 players finished in double figures….Alston led four 04-05 players in double figures with 19…Lamond Murray re-appeared and chipped in 12 for 04-05, while holding Tracy Murray to “only” 11…Jermaine Jackson and Omar Cook were given technical fouls late in the fourth quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct…The two third-string point guards were jawing each other all night…01-02 held a 51-39 rebound advantage…What does Lenny Wilkens have against Morris Peterson? All MoPete has done is contribute, yet he only saw three minutes of court time in Game 3. He has 14 points in 15 minutes of action in the finals.

Game #4: 2001-02 Toronto 98 at 2004-05 Toronto 85

In the end, it was rather anti-climactic.

The 2004-05 Raptors ran out of miracles and the 2001-02 squad was not in a giving mood.

As the final buzzer sounded, Michael Stewart hurled the ball skyward as the 01-02 Raptors cruised to a 98-85 victory, giving them the title of the Greatest Raptors Team of All-Time.

Tournament MVP Vince Carter led all scorers with 30 points, while Antonio Davis had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the 01-02 squad.

The game was interesting for three quarters as the two teams battled in an intense match. When Jalen Rose converted a three-pointer off of a no-look feed from Rafer Alston, 04-05 had a 60-59 lead with 3:29 to go in the third. It would be the last time that 04-05 would have the lead in the series.

From there, 01-02 went on a 21-8 run over the next seven minutes, effectively ending the series.

Chris Bosh had 19 to lead 04-05 in scoring, while Rose pitched in with 18. Lamond Murray, Eric Williams and Alston all finished in double figures.

RaptorsHQ.com named Antonio Davis as the series MVP in a somewhat controversial decision. Many thought that Carter would be the choice, with 28.3 points per game in the series. However, Howland, Franchise and Chapman felt that AD’s 18.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists were more valuable to 01-02. In fairness, though, the way that 01-02 played in the series, Derrick Dial could have been named MVP just because he went to Eastern Michigan.

Carter led all scorers with 28.3 points per game in the series. Rose led all 04-05 players with 19.3 points. AD’s 10.8 rebounds led all players, while Bosh had 8.3 boards to lead 04-05. Alston’s 8.5 assists led the way, while Alvin Williams had 7.8 dimes to pace 01-02.

Game Notes: 01-02 held a 51-40 rebounding advantage…Donyell Marshall had six rebounds in 8 minutes of play…Michael Stewart played a career-high ten minutes for 01-02…Hakeem Olajuwon paced all players with ten rebounds…The three-headed monster in the middle for 04-05 (Loren Woods, Rafael Araujo and Aaron Williams) combined to go 1-10 from the floor. The trio did contribute 13 rebounds….Woods blocked three shots…Deputy commissioner Russ Granik was on hand to present the Championship trophy, along with former owners John Bitove and Allan Slaight.