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The Greatest Raptors Team Tournament: Series 4

Series #4: 1998-99 (#4 seed) vs. 2004-05 (#5 seed)

1998-99, led by coach Butch Carter, hoped to knock off 2004-05 and coach Sam Mitchell.

Carter announced before the series that Vince Carter would not be showcased for other teams wishing to trade for the disgruntled star. Instead, Carter boasted that he would feature Tracy McGrady and that he "had a surprise" up front for Mitchell.

Mitchell downplayed Carter's remarks, claiming that the series will be "won on the floor". He also wondered whether Carter would bench the "cornerstone" of his franchise, John Wallace.

Game 1: 2004-05 Toronto 98 at 1998-99 Toronto 107

Dee Brown scored 21 points, including six of eight three-pointers, to lead the 98-99 squad to a 107-98 victory in the series opener.

Trailing 53-44 at the half, the 98-99 squad outscored 04-05 63-45 in the second half to win going away. It was a team effort for the 98-99 squad, with five players in double figures, including a double-double by fan favorite Michael “Yogi” Stewart.

The turning point of the game may have come with 2:36 to play in the quarter. As Doug Christie lined up an open three, wife Jackie suddenly attacked Norma Wick. Most of the players focused on the ensuing melee, except for NBA Store spokesman Kevin Willis, who grabbed the rebound and eschewed an easy tip-in in favour of a reverse layup, which miraculously went in.

04-05 had one more run in them in the fourth. Down seven at the six-minute mark, Rafer Alston shook Christie with a stutter-step dribble and then bounced the ball off of his forehead and pulled down his shorts before calmly draining the three. Flustered, Christie attempted to pass the ball to a VH1 representative on the next possession. Peterson’s jumper then cut the 98-99 lead to two. Christie managed to gather himself and knocked down a clutch 17-footer to restore the 98-99 lead to four points. After Chris Bosh was called for a charge, Brown knocked down his fifth triple of the game to put the nail in the coffin.

Game Notes: Christie finished with 17 points, as did John Wallace for 98-99….Alston led all scorers with 23 and chipped in 7 assists….Bosh had 12 points and 14 boards for 04-05…Dave Feschuk filled in for Herbie Kuhn, who called in sick because he “ran out of pre-game trivia questions”…Feschuk was booed mercilessly all game…Attendance was 19,800…Acrobazia performed at halftime.

Game 2: 2004-05 Toronto 109 at 1998-99 Toronto 107 (OT)

04-05 blew a big second-half lead, then saw 98-99’s Tracy McGrady choke with the game on the line, before pulling out a 109-107 victory in overtime to even the series.

Trailing for most of the game, 98-99 made a furious comeback in the second half.

After a Rafael Araujo free throw with 8:15 to go in the third, the 04-05 lead was 16. From there, 98-99 began to chip away, getting the lead down to two with 33 seconds left in the stanza on a Doug Christie jumper. Jalen Rose then backed Christie down in the post before hitting a fadeaway jumper to give 04-05 a 75-71 lead. After Christie was whistled for an illegal screen with four seconds left in the quarter, Araujo found Milt Palacio, of all people, for the alley-oop at the buzzer.

04-05 managed to keep 98-99 at bay for most of the fourth quarter, leading throughout. With 1:30 to go, Charles Oakley rebounded an Eric Williams miss and found Dee Brown cruising down the court. Instead of taking the easy layup, Brown evoked memories of Dell Curry and nailed the open three, cutting the 04-05 to one.

After Chris Bosh hit one of two free throws, Tracy McGrady knocked down a fourteen-footer to tie the game for the first time since tip-off. After Rafer Alston threw up an unnecessary three, McGrady was fouled by Rose and hit one of two free throws to give 98-99 their first lead of the game.

Araujo grabbed the rebound and 04-05 decided to look for the best available shot. Alston found Rose who made no mistake with the jumper from the right corner to give 04-05 a 95-94 lead with 15 seconds to go.

As McGrady lifted for the final shot, Alston hacked him on the arm, rendering Sam Mitchell apopletic. McGrady calmly sank the first one, before pulling a Darius Washington and blowing the second one. Overtime.

While 04-05 controlled most of the overtime, 98-99 fought valiantly. John Wallace’s finger roll with 1:17 to go knotted the score at 104-104. But his turnstile defending got the best of him as he fouled Rose on the next possession. Two made free throws later, Wallace tried to avenge his poor defending, forcing a shot in traffic that missed badly.

Bosh then nailed a jumper as the shot clock expired, giving 04-05 a four-point lead with 17 seconds to go. After Peterson hit one of two free throws, Brown’s midcourt heave at the bucket found nothing but net. 109-107 for 04-05, evening the series.

Game Notes…Rose led six 04-05 players in double figures with 19…McGrady led 98-99 with 19, but missed four of seven free throws…98-99 was 18 of 31 from the charity stripe…Vince Carter had 8 points and 9 rebounds in 19 minutes of action for 98-99…Bosh had his second straight double-double with 13 points and 16 boards, while Loren Woods surprised many with 10 points and 11 rebounds…Dee Brown was 5 for 11 from beyond the arc.

Game 3: 1998-99 Toronto 96 at 2004-05 Toronto 97

Rafer Alston’s teardrop in the lane as time expired gave 04-05 a 97-96 victory over 98-99, giving 04-05 a 2-1 series advantage.

The two teams exchanged leads throughout the fourth quarter with 04-05 taking a one-point lead on a Chris Bosh turnaround with 1:12 remaining.

However, 98-99 would come right back with Game 2 goat Tracy McGrady crowning Eric Williams on the next possession. The two teams missed their ensuing possessions before Alston’s dramatic buzzer-beater.

04-05 coach Sam Mitchell made a dramatic change in the starting lineup, inserting Pape Sow, who had not seen action in the first two games. Sow responded to the coach’s vote of confidence by drilling an open jumper in the game’s first minute.

Alston and Bosh led seven 04-05 players in double figures with 13, while Dee Brown paced 98-99 with 15. Charles Oakley’s struggles continue, as he was 1-6 from the field (6-23 in the series) and finished with a mere 4 points.

Game Notes: Mitchell’s confidence in Rafael Araujo is being rewarded as the Brazilian paced 04-05 with 8 rebounds….Eric Williams connected on a four-point play in the second quarter…It was announced after the game that the Bell Connection contest, where one person tries to guide their blindfolded partner to a “prize” had been cancelled due to lack of interest…Matt Rose of Toronto was ejected in the third quarter as he attempted to burn a Tracy McGrady jersey while courtside….98-99 GM Glen Grunwald was courtside, mulling Golden State’s offer of Todd Fuller and Adonal Foyle for a clearly disgruntled Vince Carter, who had nine points and five assists in 19 minutes.

Game 4: 1998-99 Toronto 112 at 2004-05 Toronto 100

Vince Carter shrugged off trade rumours to score 22 points in only 22 minutes to pace 98-99 to a 112-100 victory in game 4, knotting the series at two games apiece.

Carter scored ten points in the fourth quarter as 98-99 pulled away in the second half to win comfortably. Trailing at the half for the fourth consecutive game, 98-99 outscored 04-05 68-51 in the second half to win by ten.

98-99 led by as many as 13 in the first quarter, but 04-05 used a 25-11 run in the second quarter to led by five at the half.

The 04-05 frontcourt was exposed by the superior 98-99 frontline. Michael “Yogi” Stewart was simply dominant, picking up his second double-double of the series with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Surprisingly, Pape Sow was stuck on the bench for the entire 48 minutes by coach Sam Mitchell.

Jalen Rose had 20 in a losing effort for 04-05, while Carter’s 22 paced six 98-99 players in double figures.

Game Notes: Former Illinois standout Negele Knight saw his first action of the series in the fourth quarter for 98-99….Mitchell countered with St. John’s product Omar Cook…Carter was 13-13 from the charity stripe…Celebrities courtside included Argos standout Bashir Livingston, Canadian rocker Lawrence Gowan and former Leaf Eddie Shack…Charles Oakley’s line was impressive: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 0 turnovers…

Game 5: 2004-05 Toronto 92 at 1998-99 Toronto 112

1998-99 took control of the series with an easy 112-92 victory over 2004-05 in game 5.

Michael “Yogi” Stewart continued his impressive play, netting his third double-double of the series with a monstrous combination of 21 points and 16 rebounds. It appears that Stewart is finally living up to the huge contract that Glen Grunwald gave him in 1997.

For the first time in the series, 98-99 took a lead into the half. They led by as many as 21 in the first half and led 54-43 at the break.

Chris Bosh led 04-05 with 20, while Jalen Rose pitched in 18. Doug Christie had 14, along with 7 assists for 98-99.

The game’s highlight came once the contest was out of reach. Reprising their garbage time roles from game 4, Negele Knight and Omar Cook went head-to-head. With 20 seconds to go, the other eight players left the floor and allowed the two point guard legends to go mano-a-mano. Knight shook Cook with a vicious crossover and prepared to take it in for the easy layup. But Cook recovered and swatted Knight’s shot into the seventh row, where it knocked Jackie Christie unconscious.

Game Notes: Jackie Christie was taken to hospital and was released. When husband Doug came to visit her, he was accompanied by a nurse. The nurse was promptly punched out by Jackie, who berated her husband for the entire ride home…Reggie “Bolo” Slater made his first appearance of the series for 98-99…However, the chants for Mark Baker were ignored by Butch Carter…Vince Carter played a series-high 25 minutes, chipping in 12 points…Rafer Alston led all players with eight assists.

Game 6: 1998-99 Toronto 96 at 2004-05 Toronto 98

Jalen Rose’s three-pointer at the buzzer gave 2004-05 a dramatic 98-96 game 6 victory, sending the series to a seventh and deciding game.

Rose led all scorers with a game-high 27 points. Kevin Willis came off the bench to score 17, along with 8 rebounds for 98-99. Tracy McGrady also had 17 for 98-99.

The two teams traded leads throughout the fourth quarter with Morris Peterson stealing an errant Charles Oakley pass and converting the layup to give 04-05 a 95-94 lead. McGrady would knock down the 18-footer on the ensuing possession to reclaim the lead for 98-99.

Peterson’s step back jumper failed to connect and, with a chance to ice the game, Dee Brown’s 20-footer found nothing but rim. Former Arizona standout Loren Woods pulled down the huge rebound, setting the stage for Rose’s heroics.

Game Notes: Woods led all rebounders with 10…Doug Christie had a nice night for 98-99 with 13 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds…Michael Stewart fouled out with nine minutes to go. He finished with only 8 points and 3 rebounds…Attendance at the ACC was another sellout, 19,994….Talib Kweli performed at halftime…Other celebrities in attendance included Geddy Lee, Samuel L. Jackson and Star Jones.

Game 7: 2004-05 Toronto 107 at 1998-99 Toronto 106

Morris Peterson knocked down a three-point shot with two seconds remaining giving the 2004-05 Raptors a dramatic seven-game series win.

The fourth quarter featured seven lead changes and the game was tied at 104 with a minute to go, setting up the dramatic finish.

Chris Bosh missed on a driving layup and Doug Christie grabbed the rebound. The ball was swung around to Dee Brown, whose three-point attempt was off the mark. In the scramble for the rebound, John Wallace saw his tip-in fall short. Christie’s tip, however, found nothing but net, giving 98-99 a two-point lead with 21 seconds left.

04-05 set up for the last shot and, after some solid ball rotation, Peterson was wide open and converted the open three. Disgusted, Butch Carter called a time out and drew up his final play.

Tracy McGrady was used as a decoy and, predictably, drew a double-team. That left John Wallace wide-open in the lane. However, his seven-footer at the buzzer found the back rim, allowing 04-05 to escape with the victory.

Game Notes: Michael Stewart fouled out for the third consecutive game, finishing with 7 points and 5 rebounds….After the game, Stewart blamed John Thomas for the loss….Thomas fouled out in only eleven minutes, causing the 04-05 faithful who made the trek to give Rafael Araujo a standing ovation… “We’re sorry for burying you Hoffa” read one clever sign…Bosh led all scorers with 21, while Peterson chipped in 20…Christie’s 17 led six 98-99 players in double figures…McGrady and Rafer Alston each had 8 assists...Alston was named series MVP. He finished with an average of 15.9 points and 7.3 assists per game...04-05 now takes on #1 seed 2000-01 in the semi-finals.

Previous Series:
#1 2000-01 4, #8 2002-03 1
#7 1996-97 4, #2 1999-00 0
#3 2001-02 4, #6 2003-04 0