Raps win a messy one in Washington

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Jay Triano stuck to his guns Friday night and was rewarded with the best start of the year by his Raptors.

He wound up getting a pretty special finish too as the lead didn’t last but the win came anyway as a determined Toronto squad overcame giving up a 15-point lead and won it in overtime 109-107 to snap a five-game losing skid.

It wasn’t a particularly pretty game with both teams struggling to score for stretches in the game, but for a team that desperately needed a confidence boost, how it looked was really not a concern. And it certainly didn’t lack for drama with the two squads going shot for shot througout the overtime.

In the end it was Hedo Turkoglu finally showing the Raptors some of that Mr. Fourth Quarter reputation he had in Orlando with a fall away jumper on an inbounds pass with just a couple of seconds left on the shot clock.

It was sweet redemption for the Turkish forward after he had missed a three at the end of regulation that would have won the game.

The Wizards had one more shot at it with eight seconds left but this time Arenas couldn’t get past Washington native Jarrett Jack as his shot rolled out setting off a rarely seen Raptor celebration.

Triano spent the better part of the day pondering as many as three changes to his starting lineup and finally decided on none.

Had he given in to outside pressures to shuffle some of his starters to the bench, who knows how bad things could have been Friday.

All the starters did was jump out to a 20-5 lead. The bench?

Well, they struggled early on. By the time Triano got all five of his starters back in the game the 15-point lead was back down to five.

But while Triano neglected to go the lineup change route he did promise on-court changes of some kind.

About the only thing different, outside of a more determined and consistent effort, was his substitution pattern and that might have had more to do with the team in the midst of a four-game in five nights stretch than it was a response to the team’s recent struggles.

No starter was on the floor for more than the first eight minutes with Andrea Bargnani the last starter to leave the court for a rest.

The Raptors held the Wizards to just 17 first quarter points, the best defensive first quarter the Raptors have had all year and the only time they have managed to keep an opponent under 20 in the first 12 minutes.

The 27 they scored wasn’t the highest offensive output but the 10-point lead after the first quarter was the biggest lead they have enjoyed after one.

Chris Bosh led all Raptor scorers with 31 points and 16 rebounds comign back nicely from that un-Bosh like two point effort in Atlanta two nights earlier.

All five Raptors scored in double figures further redeeming Triano’s faith in his starting five.

Arenas had a game high 34 in a losing cause.


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