Celtics 93, Raptors 79 – Box

Once again, this young Raptor team hung tough for much of the game until the end where Boston’s experienced, more talented players pulled through with solid, if not spectacular plays to ice the game. The Raps were playing with fire all night as they let Boston shoot well over 50% while toiling in the high 30’s themselves. There excellent rebounding kept them in it while Jose Calderon, Linas Kleiza, and Leandro Barbosa kept bricking shot after shot.

Let’s face it, even without Kevin Garnett, this team is too much for a Raptors squad that has already won one more game that the Celtics expected to lose against them this year. When you have as few losses as the they do, you tend to remember each and every single one one of them. I’m sure the Raptor loss is near the top of their list.

As seems to be the norm, the Raptors started the game off competitively, although it didn’t translate into a lead at the end of the first quarter. It was 4-0 Toronto early on, when Paul Pierce and Ray Allen scored 5 quick points and were off to the races. Linas Kleiza had trouble keeping up with Paul Pierce all game, and Ray Allen took advantage of a weary DeMar DeRozan on defence. DeRozan, not exactly an all-world defender to begin with, picked up where he left off with another outburst of drives and midrange jumpers.

What`s up with DeMar? Maybe any guy can drop 37 on any given night. All the stars aligned, the bucket looked like a hula loop, and all that. But then you follow up that performance with 27 against the Boston Celtics of all, the same Celtics that have bottled up Lebron and Wade twice already this year, that`s when you raise an eyebrow. He wasn’t terribly efficient, and he probably made some poor decisions at the end of the game, but this kid is a scorer in the NBA. He doesn`t have a 3-ball yet or a mid-range game yet, watch out when/if that ever comes around.

Although it’s way too early to to think this, let’s be positive for a moment: What if DeMar has indeed broken out of his shell and shows he can be a 20 point guy? Would you rather have him as your first option so that Bargnani can take on more of a defensive role? The main reason we live with his defensive liabilities is because there’s no-one else who can drop 20 a game right? DeMar may have something to say about that, except that – wait for it – he is also a defensive liability right now. I really, really hope that when Bargnani comes back, that he doesn’t get lost in the mix like he seemingly has been for most of this year. The worry is that DeRozan seems to be better off as a high-usage player. His shot becomes more consistent and he remains aggressive. Will the inevitable reduction in usage take him two steps back? Again, enter Bargnani, and that question too will be answered.

Toronto went on a mini-run to start the second quarter as they limited Boston to 4 points in the first 5 minutes. The only problem was that they managed only 8 themselves in that span, a stretch where Bargnani and his scoring was sorely missing. The rest of the quarter was pretty much all Paul Pierce for the Celtics but the Raptors kept pace, trailing 43 – 42 at halftime.

The third quarter was pretty much even until midway through the frame. DeMar was heating up again when the Kleiza, Calderon, Barbosa trio went 0-8 to spot Boston a 9 point lead to start the 4th. A lot of them were good looks, it was just one of those nights for them, and it all happened in the same game. Kleiza`s line drives and Barbosa’s shotput attempts really look bad when they`re not going in.

Despite being outshot badly, the Raps were still only down 5 with 5 minutes to go, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen rhymed off 7 consecutive points and Toronto had no answer for it. Pierce was a matchup nightmare all night and Ray Allen was in one of those zones. When Allen is on like that, there’s not much you can do except defend him really well which the Raptors aren’t capable off just yet. It also doesn’t help when the Celtics defense is zoned in on DeRozan and the Raptors offense has but one option.

What a tough stretch of games. Start off with the Bulls, Lakers at home, then fly out to Memphis, Dallas and Houston and then the infamous first home game after a road trip, against the dreaded Celtics to boot. There’s not one game in there that we`re expected to win. The games without Bargnani have definitely been lower scoring, not just for the Raptors, but for their opponents as well. I’d just like to see how they’d do offensively against some of the more run-of-the-mill teams in the league. There are definitely moments where the consistent offensive threat of a Bargnani are needed when the well runs dry, like the end of the 3rd and 4th quarters. If we can develop a two-pronged scoring threat with him and DeRozan, then perhaps we become an even better offensive team than we were before Bargnani got injured.

  • Jordan-Drexler

    My reaction to the game was Holy Crap Paul Pierce can dunk?

  • Gregast

    I had to go Google it – Paul Pierce and Vince Carter are the same age?!? Wow!

    • tonious35

      It now tells us Pierce wanted it more, despite him being a C**tic douche a lot of times. Ironic his name is Pierce and he had to fight back from a stabbing attack.

  • Bo4

    I was working … did Julian get any minutes? How did he do defending Pierce or Allen?

    • sitnonDfence

      Julian played 7 wonderful minutes of glory, and then was stuck to the bench like pejas gum…ridiculous…your work doesnt give you raptors games off? time for a new job i think.

      • Bryce

        It seems to me a lot of people agree that Julian Wright is a good defensive player and deserves more minutes.
        Why dont the coaches see this? WhY? WHY? WHY?

        • Mediumcore

          Perhaps the coaching staff feels that with Bargnani not in the game the load of scoring must come from the either the pg, sg or sf positions because our bigs are not scoring bigs. Since Wright isn’t a good scoring sf I guess they have no choice but having Kleiza or Weems in the game. We’ll see if his minutes pick up once Bargnani is healthy.

  • Milesboyer

    “Would you rather have him as your first option so that Bargnani can take on more of a defensive role?” This made me laugh.

    • golden

      LOL. I stopped reading after that line.

  • Dn

    “he is also a defensive liability right now”

    Everyone is a f**ing defensive liability. We need a better coach!


    “He wasn’t terribly efficient, and he probably made some poor decisions at the end of the game, but this kid is a scorer in the NBA. He doesn`t have a 3-ball yet or a mid-range game yet, watch out when/if that ever comes around.”

    So he’s an inefficient, poor decision making “scorer” who lacks the mid-range game or 3-ball, (and a poor ball handler), but I should hold my breath….after 2 years.

    You know, at some point one has to wonder about the amazing coaching staff and their player development tactics. Then again, what’s one to expect from a guy who collected rebounds for Bosh and entertained team USA with his trick shots.

    Oh well, there’s always the local YMCA, I suppose.

    • Brain Colangelo

      At the same point in his career Chris Bosh was not a heckuva lot more efficient than DeRozan. In his 2nd year he got to the line a bit more per minute than DeRozan and was a was a 47% shooter, not a 46.5% shooter.

      You complain too much.

      • FLUXLAND

        Apples and bowling balls, no?

        I complain too much? Dude, people do not complain about this farm team.
        The Lakers got booed last night and they are 23 -11. It’s all about standards, and as always they are pretty low in RaptorLand.

        • Brain Colangelo

          You distorted DD’s progress and then complained. I don’t think your standard for him as a 9th pick who came in as a project can reasonably be higher.

          Re. booing, I thought Toronto fans are bad when they boo but I guess booing is OK when done by knowledgeable fans in LA or Philly. If only we were as bball educated as them. And as you.

          • FLUXLAND

            Distorted….in your opinion, that is; and with all due respect.

            Project. I think this is where we agree, and no further discussion is required since it will lead to more…. distortion?

            Re: booing. No one ever has the exact same reason for doing so and I guess if it doesn’t fall into your definition… it must be, again, distorted? Perhaps we should all enroll at Meritus, Mr. Colangelo?

            They boo in LA, a contender. And we have a lot more to boo about, depending on your level of distortion. Not everyone has singed up for the RugRat Projects 5 year plan and likes the bar being set at basement dwelling.

            Repeat after me, Brain: FARM. TEAM.

            • Nilanka15

              Meritus, ahahahahaha! Well played.

    • Rexdale

      LOL , Jay Triano practices his trick shots in practice while the rest of the young onez start “jerking”

  • Nilanka15

    Maybe we should hold off from getting too excited about DeMar’s recent “breakthrough”. He had 2 good games vs. Orlando and Miami earlier this year, and followed it up with 7 games of mediocrity. If DeMar can average 18+ ppg for the next 15 games, then we can probably conclude that he’s turned the corner in terms of his offense.

    But his defense still needs a TON of work. I’m guessing young players don’t put too much emphasis on scouting reports during their pre-game rituals. But at the pro level, when players are literally the best in the world, a big advantage is gained simply by anticipating your check’s moves before he performs them. Of course, the ability to anticipate is aided from experience, but the scouting report is designed to fill that experience void. DeMar looked many steps slow chasing Shuttlesworth through screens, while most fans watching the play unfold, can see exactly where he’ll be receiving the pass before he does so.

    • KJ-B

      There you go again–hate to be wrong don’t you… I know you said, DD would never average 20 ppg but then again ‘you thought’ Weems was a baller–it’s ayiite :-)

      A blind man with a wooden speck can see the difference in his J and his attitude… Sorry man, he ain’t going to the back of the bus again–did u not see the drives when he didn’t care if he got calls and who was in the paint?!?

      RAY ALLEN DOES THIS TO EVERYBODY: Kobe + The Lakers, Wade + Heat… He’s HOF man!

      • Nilanka15

        Actually, I didn’t say “DeRozan would never average 20 ppg”. I don’t hate DeRozan, and I don’t love Weems (as you imply).

        On numerous occasions I’ve simply asked how you can be such a fan of one and not the other. They essentially play the same position on the floor. I see both players as possessing a lot of talent, while still having a lot to learn. DeRozan has the added benefit of being a little younger, and having a better attitude. But I’ve hardly seen enough from either of them to label one awesome, and the other not. In my opinion, both players are inexperienced enough to correct the flaws in their respective games as their careers move forward.

        Regardless, my post is still true. DeRozan needs to work on his defense (as does many other members of this squad). I didn’t mention Weems simply because he’s been irrelevant for 2 weeks. Yes, Allen lights up a lot of players…but right now, DeRozan is making a lot of players look like Allen.

    • Brain Colangelo

      I agree. DeRozan needs to improve his D but it won’t happen at all this year. His learning curve is still too steep on the offensive side of the ball. DeRozan has seen enough guys who can defend but not play offence come through Toronto (Wright, Banks) and elsewhere and have not gotten a meaningful chance to play to know that he needs to make his mark as a scorer first to get minutes as a guard.

  • 511

    I know Ray Allen has games when he’s NOT on but it’s hard to recall any when he’s been up against the Raptors. I love to hate Boston teams – all Boston teams for some reason (which is funny ‘cause I like the city) – but I do like that guy.

  • dave9t5

    Reading this article was painfully difficult. It would be nice if your bloggers could have at least the writing skills of, say, a high-school graduate.

    • Nilanka15

      Perhaps your difficulty speaks more about your reading skills…

  • Mediumcore

    Just watched a highlight reel of Blake Griffin on the Score. He’s a rookie averaging (currently)21 and 12 a game and he winds up tea bagging atleast one grown man per game.

    I ask you, is tanking soooo bad? I mean, let the players play as hard as they can, but if management were to conveniently stay status quo for now and not make any moves to improve the team until the end of the season, thus giving us the best opportunity to get a high draft pick. Would that still be considered unsportsman like?

  • deebee

    Just looked at NBA.com’s power rankings – DeRozan has the worst +/- in the league at -205

    • Marc

      I think that says a lot more about the rest of the team then it does about DeRozan, but ouch, that’s brutal!

  • RenaldoSugarbush

    Throughout this season we’ve seen different players step up and show us what they got.
    Jose, DD, Andrea, Amir, Dorsey, Kleiza… some great individual performances. Now they just have to recover from injuries and put it all together.

    Young players get good by playing against the best, playing hard against the best.
    The Raptors have a sweet future and I’m excited to be a fan.