After Game 2 heroics, Raptors' DeRozan has arrived

Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan gets around Brooklyn Nets centre Mason Plumlee during...

Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan gets around Brooklyn Nets centre Mason Plumlee during Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the Air Canada in Toronto, April 22, 2014. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

Steve Simmons, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:16 AM ET

TORONTO - He needed the moment alone, not caring what it looked like, not concerned at all that he was violating a team rule.

DeMar DeRozan sat alone on the bench, just after picking up his fifth foul, looking disconsolate, pulled from a one-point game with just under seven minutes to play. He knew what he needed most: He needed to calm down.

“My competitive spirit,” said the Raptors’ all-star guard. “I was calming myself down. I was a little frustrated I couldn’t be out there with my team, especially at that critical moment.

“Just me. I had to keep myself together.”

The Raptors were up by a point and he was on the bench with five fouls. Not knowing what was about to happen. Not knowing when he would get back. Seven minutes to go. And internally and externally pleading to stay in the game.

Then he did what he’s watched Michael Jordan do on television growing up, what he used to watch Kobe Bryant do in the fourth quarter and final minutes of playoff games: He took over. With three minutes and 48 seconds to play, with the Raptors up a moment, he made it all about him, the way the great players always do.


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