The guy who supposedly has one foot out the door put his best foot forward last night.
Jalen Rose, the subject of numerous trade rumours this season, nailed a 17-foot jump shot with 0.4 on the clock in overtime to lift the Raptors to a 124-123 victory over the Sacramento Kings last night at the Air Canada Centre.
Prior to the game-winning launch, Rose had shot a dismal 3-for-14 from the floor. But he certainly saved his best for last.
The Detroit native picked up a pass from Mike James, faked a shot from three-point range, dribbled around Francisco Garcia and scored on a jump shot over Kenny Thomas.
"Fortunately, the good Lord was looking down on me," Rose said, who has struggled this year, having recently regained a starting assignment from head coach Sam Mitchell.
The play was particularly big, as the Raptors' star power forward, the normally mild-mannered Chris Bosh, was forced to leave the game two minutes before after picking up his sixth foul. Bosh, nailed with his first ejection in 201 career games, was angry with the call and let the officials know it.
"It's good to see Bosh show some intensity," Rose said. "Like I told him in the locker room, he has grown some hair on his chest."
The win ended a four-game losing streak and almost sent the 16,573 faithful through the ACC roof.
Rose provided the last-second heroics, but it was Morris Peterson who led the charge for the 15-30 Raptors, as the quiet swingman picked up a double-double, 23 points and 10 rebounds as well as four assists. James had 22 points, four assists and six boards.
"That was very satisfying," a relieved Mitchell said. "I thought Jalen's defence in overtime against Ron Artest was great. I thought Mo and Charlie (Villanueva) got some tough rebounds for us in overtime. They were really crashing the boards."
The loss destroyed what had been a huge game by the NBA's chief basketcase, Artest.
Playing only his second game as a King since being traded by the Indiana Pacers, Artest had a big game against the Raptors, scoring 24 points, including 12 in the fourth, while grabbing nine rebounds.
The noted malcontent, who has missed half of the season while sitting out his trade demands, was huge down the stretch for Sacramento, scoring a layup to tie the game at 112-112 with 3.2 seconds left. The basket forced overtime, and OT has not been a happy place for the Raptors this season. But it was last night.
Point guard Mike Bibby was also a monster for the Kings, as he scored 42, including a clutch 19-foot jump shot with 11 seconds left in OT to give the Kings a 123-122 lead before Rose came up huge.
Sacramento centre Brad Miller picked up a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The OT period was nerve-racking. With 31 seconds on the clock and the Raptors trailing by one, Peterson pulled in an offensive rebound after Artest missed a 15-foot jump shot and was fouled by Kevin Martin. Peterson calmly walked over to the free throw line and nailed both.