In dramatic fashion, Raptors Uprising GC recorded the first victory over the 76ers this season courtesy of a FantaSZN game winner with 0.3 seconds left on the clock.
Having lost three times to Philly this season (one in THE TIPOFF and twice in the Slam Open), the 62-61 win in THE TURN will serve as the morale booster Toronto needed heading into the final two games of group play.
In addition, Toronto responded to back-to-back losses brilliantly, ensuring their hopes of going to Indiana remained well and truly alive. The heavy defeat to Boston just a day before undoubtedly hurt, but to come out and beat the 76ers shows just how much character this team has.
With that win, Raptors Uprising is now 1-2 in THE TURN group play.
Before tipoff, many would have noticed Kenny Got Work wearing shades for this game. Big Saint was also seen wearing glasses. Whatever good luck charm they were hoping for, it sure worked!
The first quarter was very much nip and tuck, with both teams trading leads and bouncing back whenever they fell behind. A 10-0 run by Philly mid-way into the quarter helped steer them to a 19-17 lead after the first six minutes of play.
Defence was on full display in the second, as Toronto failed to score a single point during the first two minutes. Despite Philly staying in front, Raptors Uprising rallied later on and finished the quarter behind by just five points. As the saying goes, down, but definitely not out.
Against Boston, the third quarter is where it all went wrong for Toronto, but in the third against the 76ers, Raptors Uprising came alive and took their first lead since the opening quarter after a minute and a half of play. It stayed neck and neck throughout as the third finished 48-48. Cue a nail-biting fourth quarter.
Safe to say the fourth was as nerve-racking as it’s been for Toronto this season. The score was tied with two minutes left and neither team was able to put the game beyond their opponent’s reach. During the final minute, Toronto was down just one with 20 seconds remaining. Enter Fanta.
The rookie guard, with sheer composure, found space for himself and hit a clutch jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining. And ladies and gentlemen, that proved to be the game winner.
Fanta may have grabbed the winner, but it was Kenny who put on a dominant display in the scoring, putting up 22 points to lead the team. Kenny also led the team with four steals. Clearly the shades worked their magic.
Dimez notched 10 rebounds, while Fanta was Toronto’s assist leader with nine.
Following the game, Fanta spoke on how huge of a victory this was for the team:
“We needed that, that was big for the mental. It was a do or die game, we had to beat that team.”
“From a team standpoint, the energy was a lot better and we kept the energy high. I genuinely believe that’s why I had the confidence to take that last shot.”
On the team’s morale, Fanta heaped praise on his teammates and the coaching staff:
“I have to give credit to the coaching staff. Before the game, against one of the better teams, Kev let us do our thing, so the plays were working and we were getting the buckets we needed.”
The 76ers have been a thorn in the Raptors’ road to success so far this season, but Fanta knew this game was going to be different:
“The energy was a lot better, and it was more constructive criticism rather than complaining when we made errors tonight.”
Overall, Fanta believes that this victory was the team’s most memorable night so far this season:
“We knew we were going against a tough team, but to pull that out and keep the vibes good all game, it was huge for us. I see everyone walking around with big smiles on their face. This one felt more like a team win.”
“Everyone knew we deserved this.”
Toronto will now look to carry this momentum into their next game, which will be against Hornets Venom GT on Thursday, June 2nd. Tipoff for that one is scheduled for 7:15 pm EST.
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