Ford ignites Raptors

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

What the Raptors lost on the boards yesterday afternoon they got back with the return of both Anthony Parker and T.J. Ford's form.

Ford was a one-man scoring machine down the stretch, pouring in nine consecutive points in overtime as the Raps put away a 120-119 win over the Seattle SuperSonics.

It was the Raptors' second win in a row and it came despite being outrebounded 52-34 and outscored in second-chance points 31-5.

There was also the belief shared by many, if not all of the Raptors, that this one should never have gotten to overtime.

With the Raptors trailing by two and 9.3 seconds remaining, Ford found Andrea Bargnani alone outside the arc. The "Big Rook" calmly looked over a charging Ray Allen and hit the go-ahead three. And when Allen hit him on the arm on the follow-through, Bargnani got a rare four-point opportunity and converted that as well for a two-point Toronto lead.

With a chance to tie, Allen got off an 18-footer that hit the front rim and came back to the top of the key. Somehow, Allen was allowed an uncontested second chance and didn't miss, sending the game into overtime.

Ford had been in that very spot where Allen tied the game from. But he headed towards the rim looking for the rebound and wound up getting an earful from coach Sam Mitchell as he headed back to the bench.

Ford's answer was a dominant extra frame that included nine of the Raps' 14 points, two assists and a big rebound where he outjumped Rashard Lewis for a loose ball.

"We got the win. We didn't play perfect, but we got the W," Ford said.

Ford finished the game with 25 points and 13 assists and spoke afterwards as if he finally felt his game was back to the level he wanted it.

"I had to go back to the basics," Ford said. "When you are struggling as long as I was, you have to go back to the basics. Just get in the gym, work hard and know that, at some point, it's all going to turn back over again."

Ford worked on his pull-up jumper before practice, during practice and after practice. And in the overtime yesterday, he worked his way into the paint and hit that pull-up jumper to assure the Raps would not squander this one.

"I just took what the defence gave me," Ford said.

ALLEN BLANKETED

Allen, despite being blanketed most of the game, still managed a game-high 36 points on 14-of-28 shooting. But even he admitted that Ford was the difference.

"By the fourth quarter and overtime, what we couldn't stop was the penetration of T.J. Ford," Allen said.

Parker, in his first game back since sitting out five with a sprained ankle, played a solid 40-plus minutes marking Allen in the early going when he wasn't a factor, then flipping over to shut down Rashard Lewis who was hurting the Raps with his scoring and his offensive rebounds.

The Raps are in Milwaukee tonight, looking to avenge last Friday's loss at the ACC.

REPORT CARD

A - Offence: Shot a very healthy 55.7% from the field and may have put this one away sooner with any kind of normal success from the free throw line in the early going.

C - Defence: One of the Raptors' poorer efforts rebounding the basketball giving up 18 more than they got. The 31 second-chance points to the five they got was another sore point and one that will surely be addressed.


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