Doing it the hard way

Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh plays his first game after coming back from a injury January 3rd,...

Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh plays his first game after coming back from a injury January 3rd, 2007.(Toronto Sun/Greg Henkenhaf)Celebrating a basket Toronto Raptor's Chris Bosh plays his first game after coming back from a injury January 3rd, 2007.(Toronto Sun/Greg Henkenhaf)

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's not exactly the perfect recipe for a win, and it's a good bet it won't always work out as well, but the Raptors changed things up a bit last night.

It basically was a heavy dose of Chris Bosh, one of the few Raptors with any energy in the first half to keep the Indiana Pacers from pulling away for good.

That was followed by some improved defence and better shooting in the third quarter which set the stage for a huge fourth quarter from Jason Kapono and some tight lockdown defence that all combined for an improbable 104-93 victory.

The Raps' fourth consecutive win was anything but pretty for three quarters. Were it not for outscoring the Pacers 35-18 in the fourth quarter, the Raps would not be in such a positive frame of mind heading home for a date with the Boston Celtics.

For that, they can thank the red-hot shooting of Kapono, who had 12 points in the first three quarters and then lit it up in the fourth with 17 more for a career-high 29 points.

Jose Calderon, many of whose career-high 18 assists wound up in Kapono's hands in that fourth quarter, credited the fine inside work of Bosh and Kris Humphries for opening things up for Kapono on the outside.

"It was difficult for them because Hump and CB were playing really good," Calderon said. "I think they got scared of that and started to bring guys in (from the perimeter) to help and after that I was able to find Kapono for those wide open shots."

Kapono, once he found his stroke, couldn't get the ball back in his hands quick enough.

"You just want to take about 40 shots when you feel like that," Kapono said. "I kept yelling at them, 'Hey, pass me the ball.' You are standing 45 feet outside the three-point arc and I'm still saying 'Pass me the ball. I feel good tonight.' "

Not even the Raptors themselves knew why the first half was such a struggle to get going but collectively they all seemed to agree that was definitely the case.

"In the first half we were just playing without energy," Calderon said. "I don't know what happened. We were making bad turnovers. I don't know. Nothing was going well."

Fortunately for the Raps the halftime arrived and gave them a chance to regroup down by only 11. They came out a vastly improved team defensively and while the offence started to come around in that third quarter it wasn't until the fourth that the high-powered Toronto attack showed itself.

Kapono, brought to the Raptors because of his outside shooting ability, reeled off four threes in the fourth quarter as the Raps pulled away.

Head coach Sam Mitchell felt his team made its own bed in the first half by passing up open shots.

"We couldn't find a rhythm and we were turning down shots," Mitchell said. "That's something we talked about at halftime, Anthony Parker was turning down shots, Jose (Calderon) was turning down shots, Jason (Kapono) was hesitating in that first half. We told them at halftime, we have to shoot the basketball when we're open because they were doing a good job surrounding Chris (Bosh)."

Clearly the message got through and what looked like a certain win-streak ending night in Indiana turned into a Raptors win.

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REPLAY

TURNING POINT

Trailing 90-86 late in the fourth quarter, the Raps got a two and then a three-pointer from Jose Calderon to open up a lead. When Jason Kapono hit his fifth of six threes on the next series, the Raps never looked back.

JAY IN RAPS' LAND

Apparently not every baseball player went into hiding in the wake of the Mitchell Report. Blue Jays outfielder Adam Lind was a guest of the Raptors for last night's game in Indianapolis. Lind hails from nearby Anderson, Indiana.

OUCH! THAT HURTS

Carlos Delfino's services were lost to the Raps for the final 51/2 minutes of last night's game when he was called for an offensive charge on Jermaine O'Neal. Delfino required seven stitches to close a gash over his left eye.


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