The Raptors gave Memphis a scare as they tied things up going into the final minute. There was lots of competitive play but in the end, the Raptors didn't have enough to take themselves over the hump.
As a protest to the recent Andrea Bargnani debates that have hijacked countless threads, Vicious D will not mention "Il Mago" for this entire recap.
The streak is dead.
After the Raptors scored a 3-point in every game in over 12 years, they finally succumbed to one of their glaring weaknesses of this year and failed to score from beyond the arc.
At a streak of 986 games, it's nothing to scoff at.
Especially since one three pointer was all the Raptors needed to come out with a win.
Going 0-13 from beyond the arc, the Raptors simply didn't have the firepower to continue.
No Dell Curry, Vince Carter, or Donyell Marshall.
No Mo Pete, Dee Brown, or Doug Christie.
No Jason Kapono, Derrick Martin, or Anthony Parker.
If there was ever a time for the Raptors to fall to the machinations of time, this was the year. Shooting just under 33%, the Raptors are 29th in the league this year in three point shooting and considering how good the Raptors have traditionally been at making the three, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that it all ended this year.
Adding insult to injury, the Raptors lost the game by two points. If just one of those three pointers made it in, the Raptors would have been able to snap their losing streak and would finally get their third win of the year.
Overall though, it wasn't as though the Raptors didn't put up impressive individual efforts. DeMar DeRozan nearly made a double-double with his 25 points and 9 rebounds, which eclipsed Rudy Gay's own 21 and 7. Jerryd Bayless filled in admirably for Jose Calderon with a double double of 11 assists and 15 points. Julian Wright once again gave something extra with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
We also saw the return of Sonny Weems, and injuries and illness sideline Linas Kleiza, Joey Dorsey, and Jose Calderon.
However, with the Raptors only dressing eight players, including d-leaguer Sondiata Gaines, the Raptors just had enough to fight back towards the end of the game. Going on a run, the Raptors managed to close the gap on Rudy Gay and crew. Although Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and O.J. Mayo joined Gay as double figure scorers, the Raptors still made a game of it.
Tied at 98, the Raptors and Grizzlies just couldn't put each other away. It wasn't until Rudy Gay pulled up for a fadeaway over Julian Wright that the Grizzlies put the Raptors down for the count.
The Raptors' 3-point streak was something that we used to laugh about because it seemed so inconsequential. For many years, without any accolades, the Raptors and their media personnel would trot out the streak seemingly to distract the crowds from state of affairs in the Raptors' backyard. Now that it's come to a close, I feel like I can at least reflect on it; 12 years is an extremely long time. Just thinking about how many Vince Carter and Morris Peterson 3-pointers had launched to start the streak more than a decade ago is impressive. Thinking about all the great and not-so-great shooters who have contributed to that streak is nothing short of mind boggling
When I look back at it, I think about how important the 3-point shot has become and what the Raptors will need in the foreseeable future. While the concept of the streak may have been half baked, this team's need for more consistent 3-point shooting is not. With so few 3's being made this year, the Raptors have had to work extra hard to attain additional possessions just to remain consistent with other teams. That simply can't be allowed to repeat itself next year. Having effective shooters allows the Raptors to spread the floor, to break down zone defenses and to create a more efficient offensive unit.
Without that, the Raptors cannot hope to match against even the middle of the Eastern Conference.