#1 r will not be easily matched. Known for his l von carrie567 05.05.2019 03:53

TORONTO - As Patrick Patterson was getting reacquainted behind the three-point line two years into his NBA career he hoped to, eventually, emulate one of the leagues most clutch shooters at his position. I always wanted to be like Robert Horry, said Patterson, who was one of the last players in the gym, getting up shots after practice on Thursday afternoon. A guy who came through in the clutch for whatever team he was with - Houston, L.A., the Spurs. Just a guy who was always hitting clutch and key shots. Thats what I wanted to be, he told TSN.ca. They called him Big Shot Bob, so I wanted to be Big Shot Pat. Granted, it doesnt have the same ring to it, but the Raptors reserve forward has grown into one of the leagues premier players at a hybrid position that Horry himself helped pioneer - the stretch four. It was a path that he forged just a few years ago, not necessarily one he was destined for as a young player, urged to take advantage of his height. At 6-foot-9, Patterson aimed to please early in his career. He was a chameleon, a product of the system he found himself in, a jack of all trades but master of none. Playing for Billy Gillispie in his first two years at Kentucky, Patterson was asked to man the paint, a task he embraced, shooting nearly 60 per cent from the field but attempting only four threes for the Wildcats. The next season, his final year in college, John Calipari was the first coach to introduce him to the perimeter. He wanted me to shoot it, Patterson recalled, hoisting 69 three-balls that year, despite shooting a modest percentage. He wanted me to be aggressive with it. Graduating after his Junior season, Patterson was drafted 14th overall by the Houston Rockets. The Raptors, selecting one pick earlier, strongly considered the Washington, D.C. native but opted for Ed Davis, a stronger rebounder, instead. Pattersons skills in the low post did not set him apart and he had just begun to refine his game on the perimeter. Where did he fit? His first two seasons in the NBA were a mixed bag. He played for Rick Adelman in the Rockets elbow offence, which, again, restricted his opportunities to step out and shoot the three - he attempted just five. Led by general manager Daryl Morey, a proponent of analytics, the Rockets changed their philosophy to emphasize the value of three-point shooting more than ever before. Kevin McHale took over as head coach, James Harden was brought in, and Patterson was asked, again, to alter his game. McHale wanted him out on the perimeter, so he spent the summer of 2012 getting reacquainted with a shot he had left behind in college, where the three-point arc is three-feet closer. My touch for the three-pointer pretty much just disappeared, Patterson admitted. I just had to work on it, work on it every single day in practice, after practice, days off and focus a lot on it during the summertime and the offseason. I think with the encouragement from the coaching staff and my fellow players it just made me want to keep working on it more and more and just keep improving and be that stretch four that everyone thought I could be. Between Houston and Sacramento - where he would be traded midseason - Patterson hit 39 per cent of his 132 attempts from beyond the arc that year. After struggling with the Kings to begin last season, the 25-year-old found new life playing alongside Kyle Lowry, a former teammate, in Dwane Caseys offence with the Raptors. He has thrived as a long-distance shooter ever since. In 70 games with Toronto, Patterson is shooting the three-ball at an impressive 43 per cent clip. Only two players - Jason Kapono and Mike James - have a higher career mark as a member of the Raptors. This season, hes been remarkably efficient. Of the 40 NBA players 6-foot-8 or taller that have launched 50 or more three-pointers, Patterson and Miamis Shawne Williams are shooting the highest percentage (.452). Overall, amongst players at any position, that pair ranks seventh in the league (minimum 50 attempts). A gym rat by nature, Patterson credits repetition and his consistent, day-to-day routine, which hasnt changed since he integrated the long-ball into his game over two years ago. I have the same focus I had when I was missing shots, said Patterson, who is 13-for-22 from three-point range in December. Its just an everyday grind. I still do the same routine every single day, still get up my extra shots every single day. So I try not to alter what Im doing. Regardless of whether Im missing shots or if Im making shots, I still shoot the same amount of shots after practice and before practice. Its just staying confident, staying focused and believing in myself as my teammates do. Thats one thing that he works on everyday, Casey said. Hes a threat there. Theyre running at him and hes doing a great job of making plays off the dribble, because they are running so hard at him to get him off the three-point line. So thats a sign of respect. Horrys inexplicably successful career will not be easily matched. Known for his late-game heroics, the 16-year vet never missed the playoffs, winning seven NBA championships, more than Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, which requires a fair amount of luck. But Big Shot Bob did have a flare for the dramatic, a quality Patterson has demonstrated down the stretch in each of Torontos last two games. His big moment came in Mondays overtime win over the Nuggets. Patterson had already hit a corner three to cut a five-point deficit down to two with just over two minutes left in regulation. Now, down three in the final minute, Lowry drove into the heart of the defence, sucking in Pattersons defender before kicking it out to the open forward, who drilled the game-tying bucket from the top of the key. Patterson had been screaming over the sound of a sellout crowd in the hopes of getting Lowrys attention. The two have developed a great feel for one another on the court, Patterson says. He was also on the floor in crunch time the following night in a loss to Cleveland, hitting a big 18-footer to give the Raptors their last lead of the game. The fifth-year forward has become cerebral in moments like these. I hear everything, he told reporters after Mondays win. I hear fans in whatever section, I cant remember which one, there was a guy screaming, hey P-Pat. Theres another fan after I made that three say, yea thats what Im talking about PD-Pat, lets go Patman save the day. I hear everything. Its a huge responsibility, that I want to have, said the self-proclaimed Big Shot Pat. 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