Can't begin to take the Raptors seriously until they show they can compete with teams above them in the NBA standings. Heading into last night's game against Boston and today's game against San Antonio, the Raps are a sorry 2-12 against teams ahead of them in the standings and one of those wins came on opening night at home. More importantly, none of those wins have come on the road
And it should not be taken as anything near a clear indication of what his future might hold but in a wide-ranging chat at the Air Canada Centre this week, he touched on one aspect long forgotten in many professional sports.
"Nowadays, everybody looks out for themselves," he said. "There's not much loyalty in anything, like personally, or basketball.
"I think that's important," he added. "I think that could be brought back to sports, to family, to friends. I think generally, in the world, loyalty isn't big any more."
It's that kind of loyalty that's allowed Bosh to become what he is for the Raptors. He's played through horrible times and good ones, injuries and good health and teammates by the dozen.
"Chris is not a flamboyant person who says, `Look at me,'" says his former coach, Sam Mitchell, who was in charge during Bosh's ascension to the upper ranks of NBA power forwards. "He just gets the job done. He wants the Raptors to do well."
But the starting shooting guard said that he will gain a lot from the experience, particularly the experience of guarding nine-time NBA all-star Ray Allen, who burned the Raptors for 23 points, along with four assists and two steals.
"He never stops," said DeRozan, who picked up four fouls in the game, three in the first five minutes. "He doesn't play the ball, he plays you. He just sets you up to get you in his comfort zone."
Because of his foul trouble, DeRozan played just over 14 minutes and finished with three points and no rebounds. But Toronto coach Jay Triano wasn't about to dump on his rookie.
"We like everything that he's doing, we like the progression he's making, his work ethic, his attention to detail and we just feel he's going to be a great player," Triano said.
Head coach Jay Triano is hoping to have point guard Jose Calderon dressed for Toronto's game in Orlando on Wednesday, though the Spanish point guard did not fly with the team to Boston.
"The main thing with us is we have to respond in a composed kind of way," said Chris Bosh, who led all scorers with 25 points. "Instead of being super aggressive, we need to be strong and controlled. Usually when a guy hits you first, you hit back, they flop and you're going to get called for the foul. We just have to be physical as well but we can't let stuff like that throw us off our game.
"You can be aggressive but you have to show some composure as well, you can't just go out there and try to knock everybody over. We have to work at being a lot more physical on defence and being able to take the physicality on offence."
Boston ends three-game losing streak with 103-96 win despite playing without three starters
The Raptors coach may have had a point when it came to total team fouls — 21 fouls were called on the Celtics during the game, compared to 27 on Toronto. Though if you asked Kendrick Perkins — who was being grabbed all fourth quarter by the undersized Andrea Bargnani — the game was called just fine.
Triano did, in fact, give credit to the Celtics for their physical play.
“They played very hard, and we knew they were going to do that," he said. "They execute, they bang us inside, and we were trying to not let the catch come in and we just didn’t work hard enough and block defensively, so that results in a lot of points in the paint.”
The Raptors made a run in the 4th quarter, but they couldn't get any stops. The Celtics kept attacking and scoring.
Chris Bosh had the quietest 25 points and 9 rebounds I've ever seen. I'm just not impressed with this guy as a leader.
# I had not gotten to see Chris Bosh in person until tonight, and I left the game in shock. He makes every movement look effortless. His smooth jumper could not be stopped by any Celtic either. It still boggles my mind why the Raptors did not go to him more often in the game. He could have easily scored 40 points tonight, but he didn't seem to care to do so.
# Chris Bosh was not the only person who did not seem to care. Andrea Bargnani put on a shooting clinic but did not commit to defense at all. Almost every player to come off of the bench did not look motivated. The Raptors had a great chance to beat the Celtics tonight but did not care to grasp the moment. They are certainly a flawed team.
Despite having a point guard-less starting lineup, the Toronto Raptors didn't really look to pressure the Celtics all that much on Saturday. Boston head coach Doc Rivers said this did not surprise him.
"If you're a pressing team you press, and if you're not a pressing team then you're doing something different and you're probably not ready to do that to yourself," Rivers said.
Ex-Celtic point guard Marcus Banks probably did more pressing than any of the Raptors.
When Banks did pressure, the Celtics usually had whoever was playing shooting guard bring the ball up and initiate the offense.
"Because in our league, only the point guards are going to pressure," Rivers said. "You don't see 2s and 3s up there pressuring. They don't like to do it; most of them aren't capable of doing it."
Raptors coach Jay Triano simply said when asked about the Celtics physicality, "We have to learn to play like they did."
To have an opposing coach say that about a Boston team missing Rondo, Pierce and Garnett has to make Rivers smile. Perhaps he can even pin it up on the poster board in case he needs any other motivating mantras.
Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan could only shake his head when asked about Boston finding a way to win despite its thin bench; the Celtics dressed just 11.
"Without their main players, [the Celtics] still go out there and play tough, play hard and play like they want to be a championship team," said DeRozan.
The Celtics didn't quite look like a championship team as they endured a licking at the hands of the Suns Wednesday night in Phoenix. Playing without Garnett and Pierce, Boston appeared woefully unsure of itself and out of sync at both ends of the court.
Even with half of the rotation gone, the Celtics had six players score in double figures, topped by Ray Allen’s 23 points.
Even with second-unit leader Rasheed Wallace making a second straight start, the Celtics’ bench punched through with 34 points.
Even with a patchwork plan in place, the Celtics snapped two streaks – their own three-game slide as well as a 5-0 run by previously hot Toronto.
Doc Rivers went from disgusted about his team’s play during a Dec. 30 loss in Phoenix, to repeatedly pumping his fist while walking off the floor last night.
Regular-season wins rarely carry more meaning.
Coming into tonight’s game against Toronto, riding miserably low on a painful three-game losing streak, and with another daunting road trip looming, the Celtics took their coach's words to heart, and the result, was an impressive 103-96 victory.
“All that (Doc’s) said, as well as the speech he gave us today was real big,” said Tony Allen, who played a team high 36 minutes. “He said some things today that guys looked at it in a way we were really going to accept this challenge, and go out there and just get this win.”
Allen finished the game with 14 points and tied a career high with seven assists—the last time he reached that number was back in 2006, oddly enough, against the Raptors. But he was just one of many stand-in heroes who stepped up and “did his job” when, quite simply, nothing less would do.
“We kept it simple,’’ Rivers said. “We had a theme going into the game. Fortunately it was the right theme, because sometimes you just don’t know. But every single guy, you could hear the whole time repeating it over and over again.’’
The blueprint was the same – defense first, unselfishness second. The steps were just easier to follow.
“We didn’t do anything different really,’’ Rivers said. “We just ran our stuff. We simplified it because we thought we had to.’’
The Celtics shot 51.4 percent from the floor, they won the rebound battle, 36-28, and with 26 assists on 36 field goals, they kept the ball moving on offense. For Rivers, figuring out a way to win, was like piecing together a puzzle, but the key was making sure each player knew which piece it was.
In his last two Garden appearances, Turkoglu scored 25 points as Orlando eliminated the Celtics in Game 7 of the conference semifinals in May and he scored another 20 in a Toronto loss in November. Last night he had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists. He seemed to be in a playmaking mode in this game, but doubtless would have launched more 3-pointers if he had the chance. But Allen’s aggressiveness and quickness had a hand in throwing Turkoglu off.
“I study these guys beforehand, I look at film, try to see what opponents I’ll be guarding,’’ Allen said. “I just try to study their games.’’
Usually, Pierce defends Turkoglu, and it is a better matchup on paper. Allen gives away several inches in height to Turkoglu, but he compensated by picking his way past picks.
“Basically, because our defensive coverage was to go over the screens,’’ Allen said. “Turkoglu is a great scorer. With our ‘show’ defense from our ‘bigs,’ and me fighting over the screens, that was key.’’
“I’ve never called more plays in a game probably in my life,” Rivers said. “We knew that coming in. We knew Tony, he only has a certain amount of plays that he knew as far as at the point. The other ones we had to call.”
There was obvious concern before the game.
The Celtics had gone from the Big Three to missing three and faced the Raptors without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup.
That concern didn't last very long.
“If we were shorthanded tonight, it didn't feel like it at all,” Ray Allen said after the Celtics 103-96 win.
Understandably so, Giddens and Hudson were hesitant offensively with the ball, but as far as the defense was concerned, they faired well in their first meaningful game.
"I spoke with Lester [Hudson] and J.R. [Giddens] and, these are the moments," said Ray Allen. "You want more playing time, you want to get out there show what you can do. You don't wish anybody to get injured but the situation arises you have to step up and answer the bell and be ready to knock the shot down. If it doesn't go in for you get a great defensive stop."
# Defense – The Raptors are 5th in the league in offensive efficiency, no longer tied with us thanks to a pretty tough game for them last night. However, they are dead last in the league when it comes to playing defense. Our guys should have no trouble scoring, but they have to get stops to get a win. The frontcourt is key – we gave up 34 points in the paint last night, and the Raps have one of the best frontcourt scoring duos in the league.
# Passing – The best way to take advantage of the most porous defense in the league? Find your teammates in good situations.
# Bench Play – Just keep doing what you do, BAM.
Riding a season high 5 game winning streak the Raps headed to Beantown to face a team ravaged by injuries and shy three starters.
In a match-up that would have normally been pegged as an automatic loss the Raps had a chance to get a win and reach the .500 level.
This was a game where having a player like Rasheed Wallace made a big difference, especially in comparison to Andre Bargnani. With out much effort Wallace shot 6 of 11 on the night and generally manhandled Andre Bargnani.
Wallace added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. There aren’t too many big men with the versatile inside/outside game that Wallace has that can put up those kind of stats. His effort was huge in winning this game.
Wallace helped get things started in the first quarter with 2 three pointers. In the critical 4th quarter, he scored a turnaround bank shot over Bargnani making the score 86-81, and then stole a Marcus Banks pass.
THE FAN presents highlights (1) and the game recap (2), [courtesy Paul Jones & Eric Smith] of the Celtics' 103-96 win.
- “Teabag in the ocean (aka – WEAK).”
- “The effort wasn’t there tonight for Toronto … Brutal.”
Watch the game between the Raptors and Boston Celtics all in just six minutes!