February 8, 2013 by bronasvalanciunas
Some fool in my house was too busy alphabetizing his bookshelves this month and forgot to pay the cable and Internet bills for January. Thus I missed the first quarter and a half of the Indiana Pacers-Toronto Raptors game…
Anyhow, we check in and its 37-32 for the Pacers with 6:28 left in the second quarter. Apparently John Lucas III has just hit a 2. Those sorts of things always seem to happen when I’m not looking.
We’re looking at a Lucas-DeRozan-Gay-Andrea-Amir lineup here. Andrea hits a jump shot and its 39-37 Pacers. How I’ve missed that rogue beard of his. The Pacers then come back and take advantage of sloppy Raptors defense and bad communication to get an easy bucket inside.
John Lucas penetrates and hits a fadeaway 2. Jack Armstrong puts together a string of words to describe what JL3 just did. He may have just formed a coherent sentence.
Paul George hits a 3 to make it 49-42 Pacers. Then mayhem ensues as the Raptors turn over the ball, the Pacers run the quick break and instead of just trying to score, they attempt to make the highlight reel with fancy passing. No dice, and the Raptors run back up the floor for Rudy Gay to miss a lay-up. Word on the street is that it’s not his night tonight.
Aaron Gray, having pensively watched this basketball fiasco, puts his foot down. He screams, grabs the rebound and attempts the simple layup, misses but gets fouled, and then misses both the free throws. Atta boy, Aaron.
Halftime score: 51-44 Pacers.
The stats tell me that Derozan has been doing most of the heavy lifting for the Raptors tonight. Andrea also has 2 steals so far tonight!!
Amir with a couple of positive statistics to start the second half. 51-48 Pacers.
Lance Stephenson goes into bear mode on the Raptors with the score at 57-52 for the Pacers. First he uses a jab step to shake the floor and put Derozan on the floor. Then he steals the ball from an unidentified Raptor and rolls down the floor for an easy layup. Then as the Raptors go down the floor he tries to swat off Derozan’s right hand. Foul.
David West has also been burning the Raptors early in the quarter. All he has to do is stand there, and the Raptors just stand scared. I think it must be the goatee.
On offense, the Raptors are borderline inebriated in this fourth quarter. Those who like to speak in touchy-feely terms with no meaning would say their possessions have no “flow”.
Does Jonas Valanciunas seriously think defenders are going to fall for his pump fakes from the free throw line? We’ll let that sort of thing slide tonight, as he’s played well and he’s played tough tonight.
Every offensive possession for the Raptors in this quarter is ending either in free throws, or a very tough shot (of which they’ve only made a couple). It’s when the team is getting shut down like this that Raps fans must pine for the days of Dominic McGuire.
John Lucas is on the floor now, in an attempt by Casey to throw a different look at the Pacers. On a side note, if we remove the h, L, u, and c from John Lucas, we get Jonas. Creepy.
Jack Armstrong is talking about the relative merits of giving playing time to Alan Anderson and Aaron Gray versus giving time to Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas. He mentions something about player development. I say we put all our eggs into the Aaron Gray development basket. I’m in the minority here, but we’ll never know until we try, right?
With 38 seconds left in the 3rd, John Lucas decides that a valuable use of a Raptors possession would be for him to ignore all his teammates and take a contested three with 18 seconds or so on the shot clock. That’s why he’s a borderline third string point guard at best.
72-64 Pacers at the end of the third.
Andrea opens the third quarter with a pump fake and then a drive to the basket for an easy dunk. Its that kind of play which used to have fans salivating. Now I’m just open that other GMs are watching him do that.
Rudy Gay, though quiet offensively, just registered his fourth steal of the game, which almost led to the first Raps fast break points of the game. We settle for the free throws, but the play inches the Raptors closer to the Pacers. 72-70.
Rudy Gay, clearly with a bit more confidence now, comes back with a pretty offensive move and then a big block at the other end. 72 each.
Jonas goes down hard for the third time tonight thanks to a wrestling throwdown from Tyler Hansbrough. I guess we should have expected as much from a guy who has “rough” in his name. Even Frank Vogel can’t take that from Hansbrough, and Frank immediately yanks him out of the game. Jonas has hurt his hand, so we bring in Aaron Gray.
The Raptors have dug in. Led by Gay taking control of the offense, the Raptors are now up by two in the fourth. Rudy Gay tries to keep going, but can’t hit his next shot. This time, Gray comes in to clean up. That’s why they pay him the big bucks.
While Gay has been taking over for the Raptors, George and West are doing the same for the Pacers. George has been hitting, and West has been roughing up the Raptors, hitting inside shots, and looking generally menacing.
George Hill hits a 3 to put the Pacers up by 5, and then Bargnani (in for Aaron Gray) and Roy Hibbert start rolling around on the floor like young lovers. Young Angry Lovers.
Andrea is getting fiery with Hibbert late in the game here. He just had words with Hibbert. Unceremonious words.
It’s now 87-84 Pacers with 36 seconds left in the game after Rudy Gay hits two free throws. On the Pacers possession, the rules of the game are thrown out the bedroom window, and a scrum ensues over top of, and under, David West. Hilarity ensues, and eventually the Raptors foul someone, somehow, sending George Hill to the line to make it a two-possession game. 13 seconds left.
Out of a timeout, Rudy Gay gets a quick dunk, and then the Raptors foul David West who hits his free throws to make it 90-86. 10 seconds left.
Gay comes back and drives on the ensuing possession. It rolls around. Amir tips it and the ball rolls around a while. He tips it again and this time the shot falls. 6.2 seconds left. David West tries to pass it long on the inbound. BUT SOMEHOW RUDY GAY IS THERE. HE STEALS IT AND GIVES IT TO AMIR WHO DRIVES, but can’t get his shot to fall. BUT AMIR GETS THE REBOUND, AND THROWS IT UP WITH LESS THAN 0.1 ON THE CLOCK. IT’S IN!!!! OT!!! OT!!!!
The officials take an eternity dealing with the fallout of the play (as they will), trying to figure out whether or not Amir got his shot off in time. Which he obviously did.
It’s our seventh overtime of the season, and by now all the Raptors are seasoned veterans of this five-minute format. They start quickly with a two each from Johnson and Bargnani. However, David West quickly comes back with four points of his own, taking advantage of Valanciunas’ defense. Jonas is clearly out of his depth defending David West.
Coming back down the floor Gay hits a two, but on the ensuing possession Indiana comes back with a three from the robotic Stephenson, who gives his death stare to someone’s mother in the crowd.
Jonas inside puts the Raptors up by 1 again, further padding his stats on a massive night for him here in Indiana.
George Hill then gets fouled for Indiana, and hits a single free throw. Armstrong and Devlin complain about the officiating on the play, as they will do.
After some tough defense from both teams (including a nice cameo from Jonas’ toothy grin, which singlehandedly forces a turnover from West) we’re locked up at 98 with 30.8 to go. Pacers ball.
George Hill loses the ball on an unconvincing play call from the Pacers, thanks to some hard-ish defense from Kyle Lowry (though you would expect hard-ish defense with only 30 seconds left in the game).
With 10 seconds left, the Raptors, give it off to Gay who goes one-on-one with Paul George, and twists George into a Fisherman’s knot. He hits to make it 100-98. Cool as you like.
Now with 1.7 seconds left, all the Pacers can do is give it to Paul George and hope for the best. He settles for an off-balance jumper, and it rattles around but doesn’t go.
RAPTORS WIN! 100-98, in arguably the Raptors best win of the season, beating a mean Pacers team on a 15 game home winning streak.
Game Goat (bad): John Lucas III. This was probably just an average night for JL3, but having him in the game leads to too many wasted Raptors possessions. We need a better backup point guard.
Game Toad (interesting): Rudy Gay. He couldn’t hit the side of a brontosaurus in the first 3 quarters, but come crunch time, he was the Toronto Raptors. His contributions won the game for us (almost singlehandedly).
Game Bench (good): Jonas Valanciunas. 14 points, 13 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. He was pushed around all night, but fought for everything he got. Tenacity. Passion. All those sports clichés apply here.