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The Greatest Raptors Team Tournament

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Tournament Intro: In hopes of determining the greatest team in Raptors history, the Raptorshq.com staff is running a simulated tournament. Teams were seeded according to their winning percentage, with the two worst teams being eliminated immediately.

Using whatifsports.com, teams will play best-of-seven series until a champion is finally crowned.

Series 1: #1 2000-01 vs. #8 2002-03

Prior to the series, 00-01 Antonio Davis called out 02-03 A.D, ripping him for his disdain of the metric system, in hopes of getting him off his game. 02-03 coach Wilkens shocked everyone by announcing that Damone Brown would start in place of Vince Carter. Wilkens claimed that Carter’s recent effort resembled Oliver Miller’s effort on a diet. With 02-03’s locker room in shambles, 00-01 figured to be an easy winner.

Game 1: 2002-03 Toronto 89 at 2000-01 Toronto 92

A fourth-quarter rally, led by Charles Oakley and Keon Clark, sparked the 00-01 Raptors to a 92-89 victory over 02-03 in Game 1 of their first round series.

The 00-01 Raptors trailed 89-86 after Jelani McCoy tipped in the rebound of a Morris Peterson three-point attempt with 1:15 to go, but reeled off a 6-0 run the rest of the way to secure the victory.

After the McCoy bucket, 00-01 Antonio Davis knocked down a six-foot turnaround to cut the 02-03 lead to one. After an Alvin Williams miss, Mark Jackson fed Keon Clark, who laid it in to give 00-01 the lead with 19 seconds left.

Out of timeouts, 02-03 attempted to hurry the ball up the court, but Alvin Williams threw it away in Chris Childs-like fashion. After Oakley knocked down two free throws, Peterson missed a three at the buzzer to tie, sending the 00-01 fans home happy.

It was a tough win for 00-01, who trailed by five at the half. They led by six after the first quarter, but the 02-03 “Super Sub Frontcourt” led a 16-3 run, keyed by Michael Bradley, Mamadou N’Diaye and Nate Huffman.

Clark, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, converted a Jackson alley-oop with 5:45 to go in the fourth to give 00-01 a five-point cushion.

However, 02-03 just wouldn’t quit. Sparked by surprise starter Damone Brown and McCoy, they reeled off a 6-0 run to take an 85-84 lead with 2:28 to go.

Game Notes: 02-03 Antonio Davis was obviously reeling from 00-01 AD’s pre-series comments. He scored no points in 13 minutes, while 00-01 AD dropped 28 points and 11 rebounds….Geddy Lee of Rush was courtside for the game, as was Samuel L. Jackson…02-03 Carter played only 16 minutes, scoring 9 points….He also caused some controversy after the game, announcing that he would no longer dunk or lay up the ball and would play the remaining games wearing his Sony Walkman….02-03 was led by Alvin Williams, who scored 17.

Game 2: 2002-03 Toronto 84 at 2000-01 Toronto 95

After a tight Game 1, the 00-01 Raptors made sure that they did not leave anything to chance in their 95-84 Game 2 victory at the Air Canada Centre.

02-03 Morris Peterson knocked down a 16-footer with 6:08 to go, cutting the 00-01 lead to three. However, the 00-01 Raps took over down the stretch, finishing the game on a 13-5 run to win by eleven.

After the Peterson jumper, Keon Clark knocked down a jumper to put 00-01 back up by five. Both teams missed badly on their next two possessions before Clark knocked down another short jumper over Jelani McCoy. After the second bucket, Clark and McCoy discussed the fall of both of their alma maters’ basketball programs, UNLV and UCLA, respectively.

The final score was a tad misleading, though.

The 02-03 Raptors opened up a nine-point lead early in the second quarter, thanks to a 10-3 run, led by a police horse’s best friend, Art Long.

Long tipped in his own miss nine seconds into the quarter. A minute later, he stole the ball from Corliss Williamson and hit a bank shot reminiscent of Sam Jones. After 00-01 Vince Carter missed a fadeaway, McCoy fed Long, whose behind-the-back pass was converted by Jerome Williams.

The 02-03 squad was up six at the half and led by seven with 3:58 to go in the third, before a 14-2 run by 00-01 put them up by three after 3 quarters.

Game Notes: Vince Carter led 02-03 with 14 points in only 17 minutes. True to form, he scored 10 of those points on dunks and layups, just days after stating he would never dunk or lay up again….When asked why he didn’t play Carter more, 02-03 coach Lenny Wilkens stated “If I wanted to see men rolling on the floor after getting barely touched, I’d watch soccer.”…The national anthem was performed by Michael Burgess…Nikolai Antropov was seated courtside and was not booed for the first time at the ACC.

Game 3: 2000-01 Toronto 90 at 2002-03 Toronto 91

As the series shifted to the 2002-03 version of the ACC, the media were calling for 02-03 coach Wilkens to explain his insistence that Damone Brown start over Vince Carter.

His response?

“Because he went to Syracuse and Leo Rautins likes him”

As the game began, it was the 00-01 version of Wilkens who had some explaining to do. Crowd favourite Michael “Yogi” Stewart dominated the first two minutes of the game, knocking down two jumpers and grabbing two rebounds. True to his bizarre substitution pattern, Wilkens removed Stewart and kept him anchored to the bench, where he discussed California universities with Tracy Murray.

From the beginning, this looked like another 00-01 win. They reeled off an 18-2 run early in the first and led by as many as 18 points in the first quarter.

Dazed and confused, 02-03 coach Wilkens sent in Rafer Alston to start the second quarter and “Skip to My Lou” made the ACC seem like Rucker Park in the And1 Mixtape Vol. 1.

In the first two minutes of the quarter, Alston sparked an 8-0 run with a bucket and three dimes. Frustrating the 02-03 home crowd, Wilkens removed Alston immediately after the run and never put him back into the game. “Fire Lenny” chants abound, which only served to confuse 00-01 coach Wilkens.

With 00-01 up by eight at the half, Mamadou N’Diaye made like Makhtar N’Diaye and went on a personal 6-0 run to bring 02-03 back to within five. It wouldn’t last.

Taking advantage of the lackluster defense of Carter and Brown, 00-01 Carter got rolling midway through the third, capping it off with a ridiculous dunk over Brown to put 00-01 up by 16.

Down 13 heading into the fourth, 02-03 finally realized the magnitude of their situation. Granted, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that it took them eleven quarters to realize the importance of the series. Remember, they didn’t play an important game out of 82 that season.

Over the first 6:17 of the fourth quarter, 02-03 reeled off a 13-1 run, forcing 00-01 into missing their first eight shots of the quarter.

Charles Oakley’s three-point play gave 00-01 a 90-88 lead with 2:09 to go. But Brown finally justified Wilkens’ decision by knocking down a 12-footer to tie the game at the 1:21 mark.

After a Carter miss, N’Diaye hit one of two free throws to give 02-03 a 91-90 lead. Both teams missed their next possession before 00-01’s Antonio Davis saw his turnaround from the elbow rim out at the buzzer.

Game Notes: Carter led 00-01 with 33….02-03 was paced by N’Diaye and Jerome Williams, who each had 13….Art Long continued to dazzle in limited time, dropping a Jason Williams-like elbow pass to Jelani McCoy in the second. True to form, McCoy blew the layup….

Game 4: 2000-01 Toronto 96 at 2002-03 Toronto 91

Vince Carter bided his time for three games, wondering when his chance would come.

It came in Game 4. He did not come through.

Carter’s game-tying three-point attempt was an airball, allowing 2000-01 to escape with a 96-91 victory and a 3-1 series lead.

The 02-03 team made a valiant effort to pull this game out. Down six with 3:18 to go, Morris Peterson knocked down back-to-back threes from his hot spot in the corner to knot the game at 89.

Antonio Davis continued his solid play for 00-01, dropping a layup after Peterson’s second three to regain the lead. 00-01 Carter knocked down a jumper after a McCoy miss to put 00-01 up by four with 32 seconds to go.

Antonio Davis hit two free throws for 02-03, before Peterson fouled out, by fouling 00-01 Davis. AD hit one of two free throws, setting the scene for Carter’s failed heroics.

Game Notes: Boos rained down on 02-03 coach Lenny Wilkens for his mysterious substitution patterns…Davis was supposed to enter the game at the end of the first half but was busy on the phone with the Ontario Ministry of Education, attempting to change the elementary curriculum. Frazzled, Wilkens called out Doug Christie’s name before he was informed by Nate Huffman that Christie wasn’t a member of the team. Huffman took control of the situation and inserted Voshon Lenard, even running a play for him. Lenard knocked down the shot at the buzzer….Carter led 00-01 with 28, while Davis finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds…Davis led 02-03 with 15 points…

Game 5: 2002-03 Toronto 85 at 2000-01 Toronto 95

In the end, the 2002-03 Raptors played as if Billy Koch was their closer.

With their backs against the walls, the 02-03 Raptors entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead. However, they were run out of the gym in the fourth and dropped a 95-85 decision to 2000-01.

Jelani McCoy’s dunk with 5:03 to go gave 02-03 their final lead. 2000-01 then reeled off a 9-2 run over the next 1:35 to take an 87-81 lead. The teams traded buckets for the next few minutes before Antonio Davis blew a wide-open dunk, which would have cut the 00-01 lead to four.

Mark Jackson then drilled a three-pointer to put the nail in the 02-03 coffin.

Game Notes: 00-01 Davis finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the series….Superfan Nav Bhatia was ejected in the second quarter for throwing his t-shirt up and down during Morris Peterson free throws…Alvin Williams led 02-03 with 16 points….After the game, Art Long announced that he would be joining the And1 tour and would be adopting the moniker “The Horse’s Mouth”…Nate Huffman’s And1 dream ended in the Toronto open run, when he was dunked on by Lars Dressler.