Overtime Escape

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Toronto Raptors Comeback Late, Beat Charlotte Hornets in Overtime

The theme has been the same all season long.

They’re down, but never out.

On Wednesday night, the Toronto Raptors played the second half of a back-to-back on the road in Charlotte, all the while undermanned and fatigued. Granted, the Hornets are by no means world-beaters, but given the circumstance, the Raptors had to grind a game out, especially after the heartbreak suffered just 24 hours prior against the Portland Trailblazers.

It wasn’t easy.

Down 10 points late in the fourth quarter, the Raptors stormed back to force overtime where the heroic play of both Serge Ibaka and Terence Davis – who got his first career start – allowed the Raptors to escape with a 112-110 victory. The undrafted rookie poured in a career night, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 boards, while hitting a few clutch three-pointers in overtime.

“He was really good,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said following the win. “This isn’t that easy to figure out who to play with all these guys out constantly and trying to figure out some ways to keep guys ticking over. When they are really fighting hard for minutes, they play better. Maybe then they get in their comfort zone because there is nobody else to put in.

“There are all kinds of things going on, but with me, I am going to rattle your cage if you deserve to have it rattle, but I am going to put my arm around you the next day and get on with it because I believe in the kid and it was only in his and our teams best interest to do that so we did it.”

Ibaka finished the night with 23 points and 11 boards of his own, including two huge free throws in the final five seconds to give the Raptors the two point lead. Similar to last night where it seemed as though the Blazers stole one on the road, the Raptors stole a game as the away team on enemy territory.

“You have to keep playing for 48 minutes and that’s the bottom line,” Hornets head coach James Borrego said. “No matter if you’re up or down, you have to keep playing.”

The reigning champions now get some much needed time off as they continue to work their way back to full health. Their next game is not until Sunday on which day, they play host to an old friend in DeMar DeRozan.

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