Well, good for us. We took one down at home, most of our players returned to form/showed us why we pay them at all, and it wasn’t mind-numbingly mundane. Our season record continues to teeter-totter. And so it goes.

Some* game notes followed by some key learnings:

* Actually, there’s a fair bit. If you’re in the mood, read on.

First Quarter:

– Bosh, true to his pre-game comments, takes the first shot of the game, a hard, aggressive dribble to the net. Air ball.

– Chris tries to blow by Foster. A charge. If he thinks he’s faster than Jeff Foster, so far, he’s not.

– D-Mart has begun shopping with Smitch. He’s officially making the transition from player sack o’ potatoes to Assistant Coach, little wannabe wiseguy suit and all.

– 8:30: Good interior defence + bad rebounding = Bad interior defence. They have three shots, one missed rim, one was swatted, the third? A dunk.

– 8:45: If this isn’t the game highlight, I’ll be shocked (thanks, as always, to Chasin80 for the incredibly prompt work). Jamario makes a definitive block on one end, and Maceo shows us his Statue of Liberty jam on the other. Hot play by a couple of nobodys only six weeks ago. I love it.

– Jamario with another great block on Granger. There’s no denying he’s long and aggressive, two words you couldn’t tag on any other Raptor but Bosh. Even Luke Jackson has to understand why we had to keep him.

– TJ has that “Slingblade” look in his eyes. Sure enough, he makes a crazy drive into the lane. That’s TJ Out Of Control Play #1. (That’s right, we’re counting!)

– There’s a black hole in our defence, and it’s in the worst spot – under the rim. Jermaine O’Neal already has 6pts ,4reb. Four minutes into the game.

– Marquis Daniels looks like a guest star on “Cavemen”.

– Another Pacer block on Bosh. That’s two. Not a hater, just stating the facts.

– 5:15: 17-8 Indy. Of their 17 points, 12 are in the paint. If you’re new to the game and aren’t sure where “the paint” is, it’s the spot on the floor where there are no Raptors.

– 5:00: Tinsley shoots set shot 3’s. What a lazy fuck. Wanna know how to get him to jump? Invite him to a strip club.

– Bosh can’t get a field goal, but he seems determined to put the ball on the floor. That’s a good sign. Meanwhile, JO is toasting him for 8pts, 5bds, and 2 assists early.

– “Hail to the victors”? Chuck Swirsky, love him, is head of the nerd herd.

– Troy Murphy looks like someone’s dumb mechanic older brother back in the early 70’s.

After 1: 30-22 Indy.

Second Quarter:

– Bargnani: 3 fouls, 5 minutes, 0 points. Someone took the fizz out of his Brio.

– Garbo’s in the game! Do something so I can love you again!

– Good look from Jose to Humph for the east transition dunk.
– A deep 3 for Garbo. He heard me!

– 9:13: 32-29 Indiana. Carlos stuffs O’Neal like a Butterball turkey. It’s clean and well-timed. So of course, it’s called a foul.

– 6:57: Jose’s heating up. 4pts, 5as.

– Speaking of heating up, Kapono drains another shot. Finally. This is what we’re paying him for. 39-39.

– “Ask The Expert?” Really? When they get one, I will.

– 4:52: I don’t think Calderon has touched rim or glass on any of his buckets. He’s got the stroke of a grounded teenage boy. 43-42 Pacers.
– Of course, this leads to Sam taking Jose out, bringing TJ in. Makes no sense.

– 3:49: Garbo for another 3! Dios mios ! 46-45, our first lead.

– TJ and Bosh, “The Texas Twosome”? Funny, I thought that nickname was taken.

How many times are they going to say ‘good job, Garbo?’ Is somebody trying to raise his spirits?

– TJ throws a bad alley-oop pass to Bosh that goes off the side of the backboard. That’s TJ Out Of Control Play #2. (I’m not forgetting.)

– Granger bitches Jamario on the baseline, followed by a snarling “Gimme dat.” Jamario, ever the nice guy, says ‘Yes sir….”
…but he gets it back with a three ball. 53-51 Pacers. A minute left.

– Off an inbound play, TJ misses a WIDE OPEN Jamario under the net. Helen Keller could have seen him. You know what that means…that’s right, TJ Out Of Control Play #3.

At the half, 56-53 Pacers.

This game is so winnable. However, we already determined what ‘winnable means’.

Third Quarter

– 10:51: AP gives us the lead. 58-56 Raptors.

– 4 quick second half points for TJ. He “has the mojo going”, according to Jack Armstrong, who’s much better at pointing out the obvious than he is at dancing.

– Raptors have come out of the locker room with energy and aggression. Me likey.

– 9:36 Parker serves up the Double-D’s – defence and the dish (not to be confused with these). 67-60 Raptors.

– TJ has 11 and 7 in 20 minutes. That’s about right. It’s when he has 15 and 2 that I worry.

– TJ makes a great steal, so I won’t count the bad turnover to Bosh.

– 3:25: TJ can’t miss now, 5-5FG in the quarter. If it seems like all I’m talking about is Ford Ford Ford, that’s because he’s doing everything right at the moment. 72-67 Raptors.

– 3:00. All of Indiana’s players cut into the key at the same time and crash into each other like confused lemmings. I’d use the domino analogy, but they’re all white.

– Stephen Graham is the winner of the Stevie-L’il Joe Brother Streetclothes Showdown…because he’s not in streetclothes. By the way, Stephen Graham career stats: 5 teams, 0 success.

– 1:26: Seems CB can only hit a jump shot when he’s fouled. Completes the 3 point play. 78-84 Raptors.

– Bosh has 18, and he’s shot awful. See what happens when you’re aggressive?

– The minute Parker let this go from ¾ court, I knew it was going in. Boom, ka-blooey. I swear – I don’t know how, I was just dead certain.

After 3 quarters: 81-74 Raptors

Fourth Quarter:

– Here comes Jose to start the 4th…

– I love that Troy Murphy shaves his armpits. On a side note, I think he’s donated his hair to the Mike Dunleavy Jr. Goatee Fund.

– A bad pass by Jose goes out of bounds. I tell you this only so I don’t get any “Jose bias” emails (that’s of course assuming I ever get any emails at all).

– 6:20: 15 points, 12 in the second half. Seems Tinsley’s not done balling. 91-86 Raptors.

– 5:00: Jose has 12 pts, 7 assists, 3 boards. TJ isn’t the only PG who can put up numbers.

– Bosh is 4-11 from the field, but he’s taking all the right shots. I like what he’s doing.

– 1:55: Fittingly, Chris Bosh gets the deuce that gives the fans free pizza (off a deep dish from Jose. Mmmmm…deep dish). 101-94 Raptors.

– Now that the Pacers will suck for perpetuity, Tinsley can finally force all the shots he wants (without a firearm). And on nights like this, they go in.

– 101-98 Toronto. 1:07 left. Please don’t crumble. Please.

– 0:48.8: Right on cue: Jose drops the easy trey, aka the nail in the coffin. 104-98. In related news, if he’s looking for a hetero life partner, I’m throwing my hat into the ring.

FINAL SCORE: 110- 101 Raptors

A win on Friday night! Finally my weekend can get started properly.

What we learned:

– TJ and Jose can both take over the game. If one is on, we got a chance. If both are on, we’re a very difficult team to contain.

– As long as Bosh is aggressive, he’ll get his points (because he’s automatic from the line).

– If Bargnani doesn’t produce, he doesn’t play.

– Maceo Baston looks like he’s made of the same rubber stuff the old school wrestlers were made of. You remember the ones? They didn’t bend, just sat in awkward and arbitrary poses…those.

– Sam Mitchell will make as many mind-boggling substitutions when we’re winning as when we’re losing.

But hey, a W’s a W. That’s it for tonight. I’m all tuckered out. But at least I’ll have sweet dreams

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