At first, it’s way too easy. All you do is grab her ass as she walks past the dance floor, and within minutes she’s buying you drinks. The conversation flows casually, everything you say is funny. To make things even better, she doesn’t have a case of Hot Girl/Ugly Laugh Syndrome.

Out of the gates, you’re riding high. Then suddenly, inexplicably, she stops smiling. Her body language changes – she’s gone from flirtatiously touching your forearm to impatiently tapping her stir-stick against the glass. In other words, it’s slipping away, right before your eyes.

Sports and sex have so much in common.

As is all too often the case with the Raptors, it was a tale of two halves. We probably lost 15 games last year due to a habit of compounding mental mistakes. This time, a 2-26 stretch in the fourth burned us like a California wildfire.

First Half:

TJ Ford had 21-5-4 with two steals. The defence was always a step behind, unable to figure out what TJ was going to do next. A perk of his incredible speed is that he can commit fully to one plan (sometimes good, sometimes bad), wait for the defence to react, and then change plans while still going full throttle. You know another NBA guard who can do this? Baron Davis! But we’ll get to him in the second half.

The Raptors shot 50% from the field.

We were winning the rebounding battle. Sure, Biedrins was embarrassing us down low, but the Raptors coaching staff will take his 15 points over giving up 35 to Boom Dizzle, Stevie the Psycho, or Big Al any day.

As a rule, I try to never let anyone who gels the back of their hair up in little spikes get the better of me. But we were winning, so I wasn’t up to complain.

We were a perfect 13-13 from the line. Gettin’ the easy points.

Then came halftime.

Second Half The Fourth Quarter:

We let Baron go. He went from shooting 3-15 to 4-5 in the fourth quarter.

You can’t score 12 points in a close 4th quarter and expect to win.

And it’s not like the Golden State Warriors are the 2004 Detroit Pistons. They’re a bad defensive team with more swagger than hoops smarts, a hodge-podge of poor communicating, lazy defenders (Monta Ellis and Matt Barnes notwithstanding). The ball just couldn’t find the bottom of the mesh, as we’ve seen a few too many times already early in this season.

They regained the advantage in rebounding and assists.

We went from 13-13 from the stripe to finishing 16-21, or 3-8 in the second half. For you math whizzes out there, that’s LESS than 50%. Meaning it’s MORE than a 50% drop in shooting accuracy. Egads.

They’re in the penalty with 4:45 remaining.
So what do we do? Jack three’s! I know Mitchell will get a ton of crap for this, but I, for one, understand his strategy. It makes perfect sense: He was going for the 4 point play. Why go to the line for one and one when you could get four? Oh Sam, you clever fox, you.

…..Bbbbuuuuuuuttttt….. for the sake of playing Devil’s advocate… couldn’t we have fed the ball down to Bosh or Bargnani in the paint? Or penetrated the lane to initiate contact? Or shoot three after three even though there was a better chance of Jessica Alba spontaneously going topless than actually hitting a jump shot?

I don’t know what the Raptors do in the locker room during the the halftime break, but we might need to rethink our routines. Get a camera in there, Raptors TV.

Maybe we’re just not as good an offensive team as everyone thinks. Until we get SERIOUS about establishing and maintaining a post presence GAME-TO-GAME (right now we’re struggling with quarter to quarter), we’re going to die by the jump shot. We don’t rebound well enough to take those liberties. We’re not the Phoenix Suns, who, for all their three-happy goodness, have some dude with “Black Jesus” tattooed on his neck named Amare Stoudemire who owns the paint like he was Benjamin Moore.

And for all the fuss made about the 10AM Pacfic time tip-off, it’s not like Golden State is the San Antonio Spurs. They’re a roster full of kids, not geriatrics. We had to know Golden State was going to try and welcome Stephen Jackson back with a win. And not just because Jacko threatened to bust lead in their asses if they make him look bad. He and Baron Davis, who is excellent at one end of the court, are match-up nightmares. Just ask the Mavericks.

Speaking of the Mavs, the over/under on Bargnani/Dirk comparions for Tuesday’s game is coming in at 12.5. If there’s a silver lining on this dark Sunday cloud, maybe some of the Warriors weird smallball zen rubbed off on us. The Mavs better hope not.

Random thoughts, just ’cause:

- I think getting an ‘official’ jersey and putting your name and number on the back is ridiculous. Yeah, I get it, it’s like you’re on the team. And you’re number 06, because that’s they year you bought it in! That’s amazing, really. Good for you.

- The Dinette’s going to kill me. Chuck and Leo’s on-air banter re: Jessica Alba caused me to spit blue Gatorade all over my couch. Still, absolutely hilarious.

- Apparently, Bargnani he ‘got up’ (whatever that means) for Italian Day at the ACC. Maybe we need Il Mago bobbleheads every game.