Not sure where my head is at lately, but I’m writing post when I shouldn’t and day dreaming when I should be. Bargnani missing the all-star reserve selection seems to be the topic of discussion; so I’ll chip in my $0.02…if he wasn’t injured, and didn’t miss half the season (so far), he would be a compelling candidate. You could make the case that he should be there instead of Hibbert, but he might not have been able to play had he been selected because of the injury, so it’s moot. What we should be happy with was that he was in the conversation, albeit on the fringes of the discussion; I’ll take it considering the significant strides he made…next year :)

Injuries

Toronto
Bargnani – Calf, out indefinitely
Bayless – Ankle, day-to-day

Boston
Pavlovic – Wrist, day-to-day
Dooling – Hip, day-to-day
Bass – day-to-day

Match-ups

Point Guard
I’m really liking the effort Bayless has been putting up in Bargnani’s absence, just wish he wasn’t the designated heat-checker; what helps most is he’s protecting the ball much better. Calderon’s been consistent. I realize he’s been starting at the 2 the last two games, but I just don’t see DeRozan covering Paul Pierce and James Johnson taking on Kevin Garnett. So with Bayless probably out, we’ll be seeing a combination of Barbosa and Carter backing up Calderon and Barbosa playing some shooting guard in relief of DeRozan while Colangelo sorts out a trade for him.
Edge: Celtics

Shooting Guard
Looks like the heat I took after calling DeRozan out a couple weeks ago was justified; not getting the same venom in the discussions that I used too. When you such dramatic swings from game-to-game, you don’t get love from this corner of the interwebs when you make a pretty against a weak-ass team. Head-to-head against Ray Allen, DeRozan’s been mediocre for a few seasons, I’m not saying Ray-Ray is going to drop 30, but he will do 15-20; mix that with DeRozan’s love affair with the jumper and Boston’s defensive resurgence (4th in defensive efficiency)…it’s going to be a long night for the prodigal son.
Edge: Celtics

Small Forward
Paul Pierce may be old, and his selection to the all-star game is a bit controversial (not as much as Dengs, though) but his game was never dependant on his athleticism; it’s that slow-motion first step that’s killer. JJ and Kleiza have been playing nice, but they should be able to deliver a combined production that matches Pierce’s. You can almost smell Pierce having a big night to justify his selection to the mid-season classic; has me a bit scared truth be told.
Edge: Celtics

Power Forward
I’m still waiting for someone to drop Garnett and have Jose yell in his face while he’s down.
Edge: Celtics

Center
All my match-up assumptions were based on the Raptors not going small ball because of the bad mis-matches at the 2 and 3 if they do. Maybe they go that route, in which case half of what I’ll be watching the Lakers/Knicks game (I’ll be watching that game anyways, Lin is compelling basketball right now), but maybe they try and match-up a bit smarter, and not let Allen and Pierce take it easy on the bench in the 2nd half because they built up a 20 point 1st half lead.
Edge: Even, but who really cares

Keys to the Game

  • Ball movement: the Celtics are a damn good defensive team, but they are old. The Raptors need to make them work on the defensive end of the court and really attack the paint; Garnett and O’Neal aren’t what they used to be. Don’t settle for jumpers!
  • Tight defensive rotations: Rondo can consistently break down the defense and create for the rest of the team. Can’t give Allen and Pierce open looks from the perimeter (the Raptors have done a great job of allowing this-this season) or they will kill us; I can’t stress this enough.
  • Get into Garnett’s head: this wont win us the game, but I want to see someone mess the SOB a bit…hate him…

The Line

Boston is 4.5 point favourites; considering they handed the Raptors a 36 point loss last week, then the 4 straight tight games the Raptors played, this is a tough one to call. I’d like to see the Celtics handed their ass in our house tonight, but that’s a tall order under any circumstance. Celtics by 7.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Celtics lost a heartbreaker to the Lakers last nite in OT while the Raptors rested up- an ingredient for a TDot upset W?

    Rondo is back facing the team that injured him and you can never underestimate the revenge factor as motivation in the NBA.

    I see the Celtics toying with the Raptors with the final score not indictiive of how much the Celtics WILL beat up on the Raptors.

    Pound the rock or smoke the rock?

    Bos 93 TO 85

    • Truthkiller

      The rock’s been dead, i’d incinerate it.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Bayless is out for tonite’s Celtic’s game so the final score might be a wider margin- still a L is a L & not Cool J.

  • Nilanka15

    Can we please go back to referring to this team as the C**tics?

  • Ppellico

    Night after night…

    Your NEW defense is in reality just really, REALLY slow down the game….
    You don’t stop them in the middle…why?
    Y
    Because even though you got him for his big body and ability to clog the middle…you refuse to accept a Gray as center because he is not an offensive player…so you use Amir who is not only no offensive threat but a joke for rebounder and really a forward pretending to be a center.
    You don’t stop them on the perimeter.
    You shoot only jump shots?
    You don’t know how to play match ups and when you fail, you don’t know how to quickly substitute.
    Your players refuse to listen to called plays and instead…well, they take jump shots.
    And why should they…all they hear in the huddle is play hard and pound the rock.

    You really need to still wonder why the raps lose????

    • Nilanka15

      How does one become an Aaron Gray superfan exactly?  Or maybe the better question is, why?

      • Cal S

        I gotta say I like the way Gray plays. He’s tough and I’d love to see him start vs the C**tics

  • Kevin Oppella

    HAHAHA! The Raptors exacting revenge against the Celtics! YEAH RIGHT! They MIGHT exact revenge for the first half of the first quarter. I’m not even going to mention what happens next…….

  • Ppellico

    well…I think its just
    an American thing really. We all seem to pick out certain underdogs and root
    for them. Perhaps a little blindly, but we do.

    I tend to follow Gray
    more than others because I was a long time Bulls fan, spending thousands of
    dollar and seeing games at floor level…even though my seats were row 5
    section 110…and I got to see him early and close. And I got angry over his
    being given a short string when Noah was given the green light to develop regardless
    of his poor play and attitude. I guess when you pay big bucks you need to force
    a guy to develop.

    I myself demand character
    over athletic.

    I guess you more than
    likely have a player you give more to than others.Gray is just my pick…

    Regardless…I am not a
    believer in him being a starter…except this team needs him and in fact has no
    other choice. If Amir would JUST STOP somebody, I would be OK with him. And please…be
    consistent! In the future…what I would really like,…IF GRAY stays…is for
    him to play behind your Euro guy and help mentor him.

    The kid from europe does need to do what all centers do…learn the
    NBA and show you can play in it. It is really a tough game and theory doesn’t
    cut it. You need body! From what I am reading I am getting nervous about him
    not being big enough.

    We will see and IF Gray
    stays…I will watch along side all of you and hope he works out…

     

    • Ppellico

      thi was replying to Nilanks….
      he was wondering about mmy madness really not explainable Gray backing.
      But don’t hit me!
      You know I ain’t right, Mo!

    • Nilanka15

      Thanks for the reply. You reasoning makes sense.

      Personally, I like the way Gray plays too. I can see a spot for him on this roster as a 4th big next season (on the assumption that 1 of either Amir or Davis is dealt).

      But I don’t see Gray being a heavy minutes guy (outside of injuries or foul trouble to other guys).