Jack is a believer

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- They have looked like pushovers in their push for the playoffs, but Jarrett Jack sees improvement.

Jack was reminded that Monday's 103-101 win over the host Bobcats put the Raptors one full game up on Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Jack has never appeared in a post-season game and the chances of Toronto playing in the playoffs grew worse with each painstaking loss.

"As long as we stay together and continue to fight, there's no reason why we can't move up in the standings,'' Jack said. "It's not really important who we play the rest of the way, but the rhythm in which we're playing."

Jack saved his best for last in Charlotte, scoring all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter.

Except for an ill-advised runner that he tried to bank in, Jack stepped up, even as the Raptors showed some deficiencies in their execution on offence and some lapses on defence.

But they made plays and they weren't hanging their heads in despair like they have done in the past.

Jack recalls one huddle in particular late when the game's momentum was shifting in Charlotte's favour.

'ASSERTIVE'

"We huddled as a group and there were no heads dropping,'' Jack said. "We were together and we played in unison. We were assertive.

"Eventually, we knew we'd turn this around."

It's not like the Raptors hadn't played with effort in losing heartbreakers to Denver and Miami.

They simply weren't making plays late in the game.

Against Denver, they couldn't contain misses by the Nuggets and a missed free throw by Chris Bosh proved costly.

In Miami, where they blew a 17-point lead, they couldn't contain Dwyane Wade and their offence went south when the Heat turned up the defensive heat.

But maybe things will change for the Raptors, perhaps the catalyst was Monday's win.

"We have to keep fighting and believing in each other,'' Hedo Turkoglu said. "No reason why we have to settle for eighth place."

Turkoglu isn't going to discuss his role or any decision coaches make, but he did come off the bench Monday night and he did make plays.

The Raptors finish their season series 2-1 against Charlotte and thus hold the tiebreaker as they do against Chicago.

Miami, given its soft schedule, seems out of reach, meaning the Raps can go as high as seventh and avoid Cleveland or finish at eighth and play LeBron James and the Cavs.

"I hope so, but you don't know,'' head coach Jay Triano said when asked if the win would provide momentum .

"I think we've been playing well. I said that to the players. I'm glad to see them get rewarded with a win because I think our last three games we've been playing pretty good basketball and we've had some tough breaks."


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