The Toronto Raptors Cannot Keep Blowing Leads Down The Stretch

By Sachin Arora
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

I didn’t think there was any way the Toronto Raptors would be able to pull that game out. Their offence was definitely the worst of the season in the 4th quarter tonight, and ranged from Amir Johnson taking three pointers to Jose Calderon trying to do his best Derrick Rose impersonation

The Raps ended up beating the Indiana Pacers 74-72 despite scoring 5 points in the fourth quarter, a modern day record for a winning team. The Raps controlled the majority of the game, and tonight their defense and Indiana’s offence bailed them out.

Down the stretch, there was no way it looked like the Raps would pull this one out. The Pacers got 5 chances to tie the game up on the last possession, and it seemed as if the Raptors were scared. They looked like a completely different team in the fourth, and this seems to be a common problem. If the Raptors didn’t choke down the stretch, they could have a winning  record at the moment.

It seems like a given at this point that the opponent is going to make a run as the Raps play with zero confidence down the stretch, and it’s hard to watch them and feel confident that they are going to pull out the victory. Tonight, they managed to get a huge win that will hopefully be the start of something more for this team.

Calderon picked up the slack for an exhausted Raptor team that just lost a heart-breaker in triple overtime, recording his first career triple double of  13-10-10. The rest of the team wasn’t fantastic offensively, and showed their fatigue. They made up for it defensively however, and managed to improve to 2-6.

Bottom line is, the win was nice, but the Raps don’t want to get a dirty win like that every night. They have to be able to have confidence that they can and will close out games if they want to take the next step. Having Kyle Lowry back will make a big difference down the stretch, but with or without Lowry, this team needs to believe in each other, and play with some urgency when closing out games.

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