For those of you unable to catch the game last night, you missed a good one (Damn you TSN2!!!!!). I was fortunate enough to witness a “Rudy”-esque underdog makes good story. There were the Raptors, short-handed without Bosh and Calderon, their top two players. Their best player in the last couple games, Joey Graham goes down to injury (shin contusion) and the Spurs big 3 of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili were in top form, combining for 74 of the Spurs’ 89 points..
Enter Roko Ukic. He had recently lost his position as regular backup point guard to a non-point guard in Anthony Parker. With Calderon out with a gimpy hamstring, Ukic moved up the depth chart back to backup and boy did he deliver. Roko went 9-13 from the field for 22 points including a late corner 3 and the driving go ahead bucket in the lane to help give the Raptors a 91-89 win over a streaking Spurs team.
In the grand scheme of things, this game didn’t mean a whole lot to either team. Sure the Spurs let one get away, but no question they’ll be in the thick of the championship hunt come playoff time (after all, it is an odd year). And the Raps will either be lottery bound or squeak into the playoffs only to get destroyed by one of the East’s elite teams.
But going forward, the Raps may finally have a reliable backup point guard in Ukic. In addition, Andrea Bargnani, who struggled early, showed a little star potential. He consistently took it to Duncan and the Spurs and down the stretch, did not hesitate to take the big shots. Here’s hoping for more efforts like this from the Raps after the All-star break and beyond!
(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)