Countdown from 11: Toronto Raptors



PJD is a Minnesota Vikings blogger (poorly) at Purple Jesus Diaries who has made a terrible mistake by purchasing 11 tickets this spring to Minnesota Timberwolves games. These are his game recaps highlighting what may have been the worst mistake of his life, outside of cheering for Minnesota sports teams ...

Saturday night's tickets to the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Toronto Raptors were actually the tickets that started the whole charade with my brother and I, going on to purchase ten more. I bought these tickets for him for Christmas for a couple of reasons. Looking back on why I enjoyed Timberwolves basketball to begin with from my first game recap, I wanted to find a game I could potentially encompass all of those elements in. Toronto seemed like a team the Wolves could beat when I bought these back in December, and were a dumpy enough team where I could sell my services on the corner for a less amount of time to purchase lower level seats. Also, a Saturday night game meant a potentially greater crowd on hand (which would make the Target Center feel more full and exciting, although it would just be a magic illusion I'm sure ...) and there's nothing like cheering with a bunch of other lost souls for a wandering basketball franchise. It all looked like things would go well, until I realized the Wolves played in Utah the night before, were on a six game losing streak, and look to have less potential than they did early in the season. Did I really just spend all this money for tickets to watch a the Wolves loss to a bunch of CANADIANS??! ... Well, no, they won so it worked out. Here are my highlights, that vary from Stop N' Pop's.




- For some odd reason, my brother decided to spend two hours before hand scouting the Raptors to decide what the Wolves needed to do to win this game. I don't believe any team actually spends that much time scouting the Wolves. But he said the Wolves needed to have great play out of their two guards all night and Darko needed to keep Barngani from going off. In the end, to my naked and untrained eye the two guards played decent, but the Raptors were also a whole hell of a lot worse than I ever thought, so it may not have mattered. Regardless, these were the positions we watched when we weren't oggling the cheerleaders.

- I don't know the exact stat, but it's something like when Darko scores more than 10 points this season, the Wolves are 0-10. So we were sitting there all game (or at least the first half when he played) praying that he would miss free throws and score only 9 points. As soon as he did that; BOOM! You're out. I couldn't have been happier to watch him leave the floor.

- It became painfully obviously how badly the Wolves need an athletic big man to hold down the center position as a strong backup or potential starter. Going against guys like Barngani make this stand out. He was out at the three point line as a 7 foot center, for God sakes! Sure, he was 0-5 there and that's probably a shot we want the team to take, but he was also quicker, more flexible, and faster than Darko in general. And when (if?) Rubio ever comes over, the potential of an athletic big makes my pants tight.

- Speaking of Darko, I enjoy how the announcers call out "Darko!" and then the crowd yells "Polo" (I think) in response. It's funnier if you think about how Marco Polo is a game to search for the person, and for all these years we've been searching for a center, and Darko has been searching for a career. Ironic?

- Jonny Flynn seemed to play ... well? ... Saturday night. I say well and use the term relatively, because he still had some boneheaded passes that make me want to go Rage Guy on him, but he also had GOOD passes and hit some nice shots (that I wished he wouldn't have taken at the time). Could he be turning the corner from his injury finally? This is like three games in a row where he hasn't played like a blind cougar on the floor, but more like a toddler who just learned to walk. It's disappointing he missed so much of the season due to injury, because he might be passable at some point. Also, FYI, he was four rebounds and two assists away from a triple double ...

- My favorite lady Natalie Kane was back in the arena tonight! I was a little bit heart broken though, because her face looked like she was either super hung over from Friday night and bloated, or she's been dabbling in Botox. Damn you, media and peer pressure! Let the natural beauties live!

- They also stuffed the cheerleaders in the entrances to the locker rooms again. Other teams put their hot boxes on the edge of the court under the hoops. Wolves? Hide them in the corner. Makes no sense.

- Wes looked better Saturday night too. I still get frustrated when he catches a ball out on the 3-point line and has space to take the shot but hesitates. Over time, is it stupid to think he could gain confidence and hit those threes like Ray Allen? He would need to work on his spacing and moving off the ball, but still. He's a rookie so we can dream, right? Also, Wes was more active closer to the basket, which is always nice to see.

- What can we say about Love? We continued to watch closely to make sure he would get his double-double (which he did), and the entire crowd was gushing over him. Some guy had a sign that said "Love for MVP" and on the back it said "We want Melo" (do we really?). They also showed Love's NUMB#RS video, which has swept the nation. They even showed it on ESPN, where right after I made a new enemy in Robert Flores who, right after they showed the video said, "That smells like free agency!". Go to hell, Robert.

- What's with all the Euro players whining all the time? Clearly Ginobli is terrible at this, but last night Calderon was putting on a cry baby show. I wanted to punch him in his stupid face.

- We went to The Depot before to eat. They had a nice selection of Surly both on tap and in a can, including the Coffee Bender. I had the Abrasive, which was delicious. Their cayenne cheese curds are also a nice touch, and their steak tacos (three for $7.00) was a fine deal. I didn't ask about happy hour deals, but they end at 6:00 PM which was kind of garbage. Also, lot's of hipsters around there, which goes without saying.

- The halftime show included the Iowa State University hip hop dance crew. It was as horrible as it sounds.

- We even got to see some playing time from Bassy! And it was exactly as I remember. Early three point shots in the clock, air balls, bad passes ... I know why he's on the bench. But he is a human victory cigar, so he plays a modern day purpose, I suppose.

- Once the Wolves won, they didn't play "Celebration" right away, which scared the hell out of me. I haven't seen a Wolves win live in YEARS, and was looking forward to the song. Finally they played it, and I was at peace.



Overall, this was an enjoyable game. My brother and I figured with 11 tickets, we should see at least two wins at home (that's depressing). So we're well on our way. Our next game is next Saturday against Denver. See you then!

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