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Tip In: Knicked At The Buzzer...Again

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Another night, another game decided at the buzzer.

Ah, the frustrations of being a Raptor fan.

You root for the team to win yet, deep down, you know that they're probably better off losing to improve the draft position. It's the Catch-22 that we, as fans, face on a nightly basis.

It's no easier for Raptors management (no longer an oxymoron!). You want the team to win to improve attendance and interest in the team, yet you don't want to do too well so as to jeopardize the future for the sake of a few extra dollars. Actually, this is Dick Peddie we are talking about...

After Mike James missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer which would have given the Raptors the win (didn't that remind you of Dee Brown in Game 2 against the Knicks in the 2000 playoffs?), it occurred to me that the Raptors have had an inordinate number of games decided at the buzzer this season.

Let's see....

Nov.2 vs. Washington: CV Smooth and Jalen Rose miss 3s on the last possession in a 99-96 loss.

Nov. 13 vs. Seattle: Chris Bosh's layup at the buzzer sends the game to OT, where the Raps lose 126-121.

Nov. 23 at LA Clippers: Mike James misses a 3 that would have tied the game at the buzzer in a 103-100 loss.

Nov. 25 at Sacramento: Bonzi Wells drains a jumper with 2 seconds left in a 106-104 loss.

Nov. 28 vs. Dallas: Jason Terry nails a teardrop in the lane at the buzzer in a 93-91 loss.

Dec. 6 at Washington: Mo Pete drills a ridiculous triple with 5 seconds left to send the game to OT, where the Raps lose 119-111.

Dec. 30 at Indiana: Mo Pete's steal with 1 second left seals a 99-97 win over the Pacers.

Jan. 8 vs. New Jersey: Vince Carter's long 3 at the buzzer shocks the ACC in a 105-104 loss.

Jan. 18 at Portland: Chris Bosh's three-point attempt doesn't find the mark at the buzzer in a 96-94 loss.

Jan. 29 vs. Sacramento: Two chances. Mike James misses a 15-footer at the buzzer in regulation, while Jalen Rose knocks down the jumper at the OT buzzer in a 124-123 victory.

Feb. 5 vs. Clippers: Two chances again. Mike James misses the shot at the regulation buzzer, while Chris Bosh misses the open J at the end of overtime in the 115-113 loss.

Feb. 8 vs. San Antonio: CV Smooth blocks Bruce Bowen's jumper and then Mike James pulls a Chris Childs and launches a midcourt triple with 2 seconds and a timeout left. The Raps lose 118-111 in OT. Those with the Raptors +7 die a little bit...

Feb. 15 vs. New York: You know how this ended.

That's 13 of the first 53 games where the Raptors (or their opponents) had a chance to win or tie the game with their final possession. This, of course, doesn't include games like the Dec.2 game against Atlanta, where CV Smooth nailed a layup with 2.5 seconds to go and then there were 3 more possessions in the game.

In these 13 games, the Raptors are 2-11. With a few lucky bounces, this team could be in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.

Then again, depending on which way you look at it, those bounces that led to the eleven losses were the lucky bounces.

Like lucky bounces of lottery balls.

The Four Factors

You know how Dean Oliver do.

SHOOTING (Effective FG% = (FGM+3PM/2)/FGA)

Toronto: 49.4% New York: 53.0%
2005 NBA Average: 47.8%

REBOUNDING: (Percentage of Offensive/Defensive Rebounds)

Toronto: Off: 19.5% New York: Off: 23.5%
Def: 76.5% Def: 80.5%
2005 NBA Average: Off: 29.0% Def: 71.0%

FREE THROWS: (100*FTM/FGA)

Toronto: 24.4% New York: 44.6%
2005 NBA Average: 24%

TURNOVERS: (Turnovers per 100 possessions)

Toronto: 13.0 New York: 19.1
2005 NBA Average: 15.6

It's not hard to see that the numbers favoured Gotham's finest on this evening. About the only thing the Raptors did markedly better than NYC was take care of the ball, but is that really a surprise when Jamal Crawford is running point? Taking care of the ball to Jamal is like taking care of a baby is to Britney Spears.

It was like the Raptors of old Wednesday night, allowing the Knicks to get to the line with shocking regularity. Well, it would seem shocking. Truth is, the Knicks get to the line the most of any team in the NBA (league leading 30.1 FT attempts per game). Old friend Jalen Rose was the main benefactor, hitting 11 of 12 free throws. Just don't get me started on Chris Bosh's need to not bite on Jalen's pump fake. Again...

Two other categories where the Knicks had the Raps on this night: Points in the Paint and Fast Break Points. The Knicks outscored the Raps 50-36 in the paint and 15-3 in transition. The Raps had no answer for Eddy Curry down low and Channing Frye pitched in with 10 and 9 in 16 minutes of play.

Chapman's Random Thoughts

- Great first half for Mo Pete: 19 points. Poor second half for Mo Pete: 0 points.

- I'll say it again: Joey Graham to the D-League. And take Hoffa with you...

- Lebron vs. Pierce at the Fleet Center reminded me of Nique-Bird at the Garden. Or at least Diop-McCoy at the ACC.

- Good to see Vladimir Radmanovic steal one of those Lamar Odom Clippers jerseys that wannabe thug teenagers still rock on the way to his first game with the Clippers.

- Can we make a rule? If a player is still active, it is illegal to wear his jersey if he doesn't still play for that team. I mean, Lamar Odom has played for two teams since the Clips. Time for a new jersey...

- Also good to see Chris Wilcox honouring his former LA homeboy Snoop with his choice of hairstyle. Or is he just honouring newest teammate Danny Fortson?

- Tough game for Nate Robinson. 0-8 from the field. Almost royally crowned by Mo Pete on the break. Good thing he won't remember the game after the screen AD set on him. Ouch!

- Great to see Channing Frye dance during the final timeout of the game.

CHAPMAN