The Raptors and a King! 

above King James surrounded by raptors.

photos and story from the A. Dorcely Sports Desk

This almost sounds like a fairytale or a Disney movie.  It’s definitely a tale of such. What I’m speaking of is a Toronto Raptors’ game that was supposed to take place

Wenyen Gabriel fights off Pascal
Siakam on the way to the basket

prior to the shutdown.  This game was also the last contest I was scheduled to cover before the Pandemic. So I’m thankful to the Raptors’ Communication Department for allowing me to see this full circle in a manner of speaking as protocols begin to ease. 

Since we last touched base All-Star weekend has taken place and Toronto has played twelve games with a record of seven wins and five losses. The Lakers on the other hand haven’t done so well. Even while LeBron “King” James is having one of his best statistical seasons to date. Los Angeles also lost to Toronto on March 14th. Less than a week later a rematch took place Friday, March 18th at Scotiabank Arena.  

The game got  off to a fast pace offensively with a relatively unknown player in Wenyen Gabriel for the Lakers and the Raptors’, Scottie Barnes making their presence felt early and often. The Lakers are up 12-5. But this lead is dwindled down by the Raptors quickly. 

The difference in the Arena was apparent. Even Drake had taken his court seats. 

I knew I was back at Jurassic Park. The ooos and aaaas for the home team were chilling at first, after experiencing a game without all the fans in the building. But don’t think for a second that Lakers’ faithful’s were absent from this game.

Los Angeles was able to win the first two quarters. Toronto was ahead at end of the third with the score 89-88.

At this point the feeling of an instant classic was in the air.

Role players being impactful, All- Star players displaying their qualifications.

Scottie Barnes goes in for a dunk in 4th quarter.

We pick up in the 4th quarter with 8:58 to go. Coach Frank Vogel had just called a timeout perhaps to quiet the crowd. The Raptors had just taken the lead 96-95 subsequent to Russell Westbrook’s wide open air ball shot. He took a few seconds to think about shooting it.
Afterwards, jeers were followed by cheers as Toronto came down court and Precious Achiuwa hit a three pointer. 5:59 ensuing a series of plays including a thunderous one handed dunk, a basket surrounded by three defenders and a block by the King, the Lakers were now up 102-101

At 3:03 a slam by Scottie Barnes caused an uproar as he gave the Raptors the lead 107-105. The fans from this point were standing to watch the rest of the game. I wish I could write out every sequence, but I have to cut to the end. There was 26.1 left in the game. The Raptors made it ahead 116-113 because of a Gary Trent’s step back jumper which caused the Lakers to call a timeout. 

Out of the pause in play King James took a deep three to tie the game and missed awfully. When Russell Westbrook got the rebound on the left sideline, you could hear the fans screaming for him to shoot it and misses everything hitting the right side of the backboard.

The game should be over.But on the inbound Russell steals the ball and hits an unbelievable three after he made sure that his feet were completely behind the arc for what I call a resurrection of sorts. Talk about coming full circle in a fairytale movie ending.  Left with .4 on the clock the Raptors try for a tip in play to no avail.

The Lakers unfortunately were able to win  in overtime 128-123. King James scored 36 points and Westbrook, ended up with another tripple-double. Raptors Scottie Barnes finished with 31 points and 17 boards and Gary Trent added 23 points.Barnes mentioned in the postgame press conference that he didn’t expect this outcome. “I thought we had it.” 

LeBron James takes a jump shot in the 4th quarter with Drake watching

Follow sports journalist A. Dorcely on IG @buffalosportsworld

A. Dorcely