Danny Green buzzer-beater lifts Toronto Raptors to victory
Danny Green sank a jump shot with half a second remaining on Tuesday to lift the Toronto Raptors over the Orlando Magic 93-91 and into the Eastern Conference lead.
A three-game losing streak humanized the Raptors, as a great start fell back to earth and started to raise questions. Can the Raptors be consistent and have ever-fluid lineups? Can the bench settle into their new roles?
Tonight’s game against the Orlando Magic wasn’t one of those games where you settle lingering questions. It was, however, a win — which is better than the results the Raptors were getting last week.
Winning the dramatic Florida match up improved the Raptors to 14-4 overall, a league-best 7-2 on the road and one game ahead of Milwaukee atop the East. Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 18 points while Pascal Siakam added 15. Spain’s Serge Ibaka added 14 and Green finished with 13.
An Ibaka jumper put Toronto ahead 91-89 but the Magic equalized on a dunk with 2.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter by Evan Fournier. Who led Orlando with 27 points.
But that only set the stage for Green’s last-second heroics.
“I just got a good look and got the shot up. Luckily it went in,” Green said. “We wanted to show some character and maturity and somehow find a way to execute. We did that.”
He had been struggling from beyond the arc before hitting the winner. In fact, he was only 2-for-8 from three point land. However, as a shooter in his tenth NBA season, his experience proved to come through at the most crucial time.
The winning shot off a pass from Kyle Lowry came after Evan Fournier tied the game for Orlando on a dunk with 2.3 seconds to play.
Kawhi Leonard led Toronto with 18 points. Pascal Siakam had 15 points and nine rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 14 points and nine rebounds. While, Green scored 13.
Fournier led Orlando with 27 points. Aaron Gordon had 16 points and nine rebounds and Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 18 rebounds.
The Magic, who trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, had a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter. However they opened the final period going 1-for-11 from the field.
The Raptors led by only a single point with five minutes remaining. Fournier’s floating jumper with 3:25 left tied the game at 85.
The Raptors opened the lead to four, only to have Orlando tie it at 89.
Ibaka’s 17-footer gave Raptors the lead again with 43.5 seconds to play. Fournier then tied the game before Green’s buzzer-beater sealed the Magic’s fate.
“It was a good call. Good play, good execution, good screening and Danny (hit) a shot,” said Kyle Lowry. Who threw the pass to Green and battled through ankle soreness and scored nine points on 5-for-13 shooting.
“Kawhi (Leonard) was going to be open too. I just watched it.” While there was some debate as to whether Green’s defence on Fournier, who scored 27 points and hit some brilliant shots, was good enough at the end, head coach Nick Nurse credited Green’s ability to keep playing.
Next up for the Raptors is a match-up against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday evening.