Newer followers of the Toronto Raptors have been spoiled, not simply by having a perennial contender to root for (up till this season, anyway), but in addition by the inordinate variety of clutch, late photographs which have occurred in large video games. Even amongst a lot competitors, Morris Peterson’s game-winner stands out.
Although nothing will ever match ‘The Shot’, even OG Anunoby’s series-saving prayer in Recreation 3 in opposition to Boston final September was epic, albeit extra so had they gained the collection.
This hasn’t all the time been the case, which is why Peterson’s inconceivable game-tying three-point prayer in opposition to Michael Ruffin and the Washington Wizards in 2007 stays so memorable.
Tuesday marked the 14th anniversary of that second, which might enable the Raptors to finally prevail 123-118 over a shell-shocked Wizards squad in extra time. To have fun this distinctive and considerably trivial little bit of Raptor historical past, let’s have a look again.
Toronto Raptors: Morris Peterson’s game-winner, examined
After following the franchise via the previous few years of deep playoff runs, it’s robust to muster a lot look after what was a regular-season sport happening a couple of weeks shy of the playoffs. Nonetheless, there was appreciable significance to the sport, because the visiting Raptors got here in simply half a sport up on Washington for the fourth seed within the Jap Convention standings.
Toronto was additionally with out their ‘glue man’, Jorge Garbajosa, who had suffered a grotesque leg break in a sport in opposition to Boston a couple of days prior. Joey Graham wound up beginning in his place alongside Chris Bosh within the frontcourt, netting considered one of simply two profession double-doubles within the course of.
Trying again, the humorous factor concerning the tilt in opposition to the Wizards is how its remembered as Peterson’s sport. In truth, MoPete spent all of 0:55 on the ground for the Raps that evening, a curious choice by eventual Coach of the Yr Sam Mitchell provided that the sharpshooter performed greater than 13 minutes within the sport prior and nearly 22 minutes within the subsequent sport.
As a substitute, this was Bosh’s evening as he went head-to-head with Washington star Gilbert “Agent Zero” Arenas. CB4 poured in 37 factors and added 14 rebounds for considered one of his greatest performances as a Raptor. His 15-24 taking pictures evening appeared all of the extra environment friendly subsequent to the 9-for-29 mark put up by Arenas, who had 34 factors.
Whereas the tip of regulation was Peterson’s time to shine, Bosh took over in extra time, scoring eight factors on 4-5 taking pictures and shutting out the competition with a game-sealing block on an Arenas lay-up try.
ATLANTA – DECEMBER 02: Chris Bosh #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Photographs)
In fact, the rationale why we’re nonetheless speaking about this sport all these years later is the seemingly inconceivable nature of MoPete’s shot. After Anthony Parker’s inbound hail mary go (they’d no timeouts) was intercepted by Ruffin along with his Wizards up by three and simply over three seconds remaining, the veteran large man might have simply held onto the ball and secured the win.
As a substitute, Ruffin inexplicably determined to launch the ball up into the air, ostensibly to expire the clock. Nevertheless, he clearly didn’t get as a lot on the throw as he’d hoped, because it shortly got here again down into the ready arms of Peterson. In entrance of a leery-of-fouling Caron Butler, he places up an off-balanced, falling-out-of-bounds prayer with about 0.2 seconds on the clock.
Amidst all of the jubilation within the Raptors’ locker room, the quote of the evening got here from the despondent Wizards’ room because the group sat in shock over what had transpired.
“I feel I’m going to go dwelling and watch ‘Titanic’ and see if the ship nonetheless goes down,” an incredulous Arenas advised reporters. “I don’t even know what to say about this one.”
Gilbert Arenas was in disbelief after MoPete’s shot. (Photograph by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Photographs)
It’s inconceivable to know the way a lot the influence of the sport lingered throughout the respective consciousness of the 2 groups, however the surprising end would mirror the rest of the season for every membership. Toronto would go 7-3 to safe the franchise’s first division title, whereas Washington would go 3-8 to complete out the marketing campaign.
Sarcastically sufficient, dropping a tiebreaker to the New Jersey Nets, who additionally completed 41-41, was all that saved the Wizards from a first-round playoff collection in opposition to Toronto. Ultimately, although, the postseason didn’t go significantly nicely for both the Raptors, who misplaced to Vince Carter and the Nets in six video games, or Washington, who had been swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Such a second can function a useful glimmer of optimism for rebuild-wary Raptor followers. Even when the group isn’t positioned to contend subsequent season, a hard-working group with character and likable guys can nonetheless produce memorable moments.
Sure, the 2006-07 Raptors had been good, however Mo Pete’s shot affords a singular blissful and noteworthy second other than any additional context.