Raptors pull off upset

Hedo Turkoglu made the determining play in the Raptors win over the Lakers on Sunday. (QMI...

Hedo Turkoglu made the determining play in the Raptors win over the Lakers on Sunday. (QMI Agency/Jack Boland)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

Hedo Turkoglu learned yesterday there's a fine line between love and hate.

The favoured whipping boy of late in Toronto following a month-long stretch of more misses than hits, Turkoglu had the ball in his hands with 11 seconds left and a chance to be a hero, or goat, against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

On the play, the Lakers defended the screen and roll at the top of the key as well as possible, forcing Turkoglu to reset. With Chris Bosh, who had set the screen, drawing plenty of attention his way, a lane opened up for Turkoglu and the Raptors' major off-season signing drove to the basket, drawing a push in the back from Pau Gasol and a shot at some real fan love with a pair of free throws.

Turkoglu made both and all those boos he had been hearing suddenly turned to cheers.

It was the determining play in a 106-105 win over the Lakers before the fifth-largest crowd to witness a game at the ACC.

Turkoglu finished the day with just nine points, and while he clearly was relieved to have lived up to his Mr. Fourth Quarter reputation on this occasion, he wasn't ready to declare himself free and clear of the shooting problems that have plagued him.

"Hopefully this will help me get over the hump and play much better," Turkoglu said. "Usually I don't rely on that (getting to the line) because sometimes you get calls and sometimes you don't. I just tried to take the best shot I could."

With 1.2 seconds remaining, the Lakers had one more shot but a well-defended inbound pass to Kobe Bryant forced the best clutch shooter in the game to heave a 30-foot fall-away prayer that almost almost went in.

"He hits those shots," Antoine Wright said, the Raps primary defender on Bryant. "He almost made that one. It hit every part of the rim before it missed."

The Lakers had a 10-point lead with just over six minutes left when the tide began to turn.

Defence, particularly interior defence against Lakers big men Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who torched the Raps for a combined 43 points, came into vogue and the Raptors were on their way.

"They played some rabid, tenacious defence from about the middle of the third quarter on," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Chris Bosh saw the difference.

"At first we were letting them penetrate too much," Bosh said. "We were allowing easy catches down low and with Pau and Kobe you can't allow them to just pick you apart like that. We stated playing better defence and playing a bit more physical."

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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