For the second straight game the Toronto Raptors started off like sheep and finished like lions.
Only this time the lionesque finish was enough to get them a win.
The Toronto Raptors overcame a 21-point first quarter deficit to defeat the Dallas Mavericks this evening, 93 to 85.
One of the key narratives in this one was the return, possibly for a final time, of former Raptor Vince Carter, the man who put the franchise on the map. And early in the game, Carter and his Mavs certainly jumped all over the Raps, Carter going as far as to throw down a vintage "Air Canada" dunk on Toronto's DeMar DeRozan:
But DeRozan had the last laugh in this one scoring a career-high 40 points in the win. His play kept the club alive and as the game drew on, others like Greivis Vasquez and Jonas Valanciunas helped the club get over the finish line.
Even more encouraging was DeRozan's final line. After struggling with his shot the past few games, DeRozan netted his 40 points on a very efficient 15 of 22 shooting, and he also got to the free-throw line 14 times. Throw in a few rebounds and assists (he had three of each) and it was a pretty fine night for the one who was once dubbed as the future Vince Carter for the Dinos. Those free throws were huge for Toronto, setting the tone for a much more aggressive attack from the Raps in the paint as the club got to the line 28 times tonight, compared to just 12 for Dallas.
As well, the Raptors' D stepped up in the second half, preventing the Mavericks from getting the same easy looks that they were getting in the first half, and causing a number of turnovers that led to easy Toronto baskets. The Mavs finished with 21 cough-ups in this one, while the Raps had only 13, doing a much better job of playing inside and out in the second half.
The Mavs got 21 points from Monta Ellis, but aside from Jose Calderon and Brandon Wright, didn't get much scoring elsewhere and in the absence of Dirk Nowitzki, couldn't find a consistent scorer when it needed it most.
The win by Toronto puts them a game back above .500 and puts an end to their two game slide.
Up next is a date with the Sixers in Philly on Friday night.