Celtics 79, Raptors 84 – Box

Let me tell you what happened here last night. The Raptors picked up where they left off against Philly: not scoring the ball, except that this was much worse and they shot 18% in the first quarter and were held to under 20 points again for the fifth straight quarter. This was a quarter where Avery Bradley did a Gary Payton on DeMar DeRozan; with no Andrea Bargnani or Jose Calderon in the lineup, and DeRozan shying away from doing any real work, the Raptors managed to go scoreless for 9:03 of the first.

The score at the end of one was 20-13 Celtics and might make you think this was a defensive affair. False! Although Boston did show a panache in their defending – Bradley in particular – this portion of the evening can best be qualified as very Kevin O’Neilly.

The Raptors were so poor that Boston decided that they’d take it easy some and started playing their bench, especially since they were starting a B2B2B. It worked for a while as the Raptors remained at arms length, with much help from good folks such as James Johnson and Alan Andersen. The latter attempting things that can only work in the D-League, and the former dispensing a level of effort that, given his fringe NBA status, bordered on audacity.

Linas Kleiza’s two spot-up threes kept the Raptors in it, along with – as has been the case this year – a respectable level of defense that can be directly attributed to Dwane Casey. This reminded me to ask Colangelo next time I see him just why he kept that hack Triano in charge for three years, thereby pretty much wasting that time.

Halftime came with the Raptors down 36-30 which was a small miracle. The Celtics’ hadn’t been able to put the Raptors away, and when the home team were on the ropes, the Celtics missed some key back-breaker threes, a couple by Mikael Pietrus.

One expected the Celtics to come out and tidy things up at the start of the third, and the Raptors to recede into further dire. False! It was the Celtics who drifted further towards the perimeter and the Raptors who started to knock their looks down, all the while getting to the line. Here’s the 3Q shot chart:

DeRozan had 13 of his 22 in the third quarter, where he also went 6-6 from the line (13-13 FT overall) and finally made Bradley pay for playing him too tight. Amir Johnson also played some intelligent defense on Garnett by using his feet well, forcing KG to fade on his jumper. The Celtics struggled to run their offense around Garnett, which they were making a concerted effort towards doing. The unlikely events of Pierce misfiring and Alan Andersen hitting had the Raptors surprise Boston 27-11 in the third, and they took a 57-47 lead into the fourth against the NBA’s hottest team.

The fourth was all about scrubs getting up and residents of Tank City pulling their hair out. Justin Dentmon and Alan Andersen combined for 11 points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, extending the Raptors lead to 15. Four of these coming on a Andersen four-point play. It was probably at this point that the Celtics noticed the scoreline and realized that was started off as a night which promised fourth quarter rest, had just turned into a 15 point hole.

Boston extended their defense and the Raptors broke the initial traps well, but the offense wasn’t able to regroup once in the frontcourt and it resulted in low-quality movement and shots. Boston edged to within eight with 1:28 left; still a very safe lead you’re thinking. False! A turnover and a missed Kleiza three had the Celtics go on a 7-0 run to slice the lead to one with 38 seconds left.

At this juncture the game is setup for the Raptors missing their look, the Celtics rebounding, and that bastard Paul Pierce hitting the game winner as time expires. False!

Let’s pause and talk about offense. It hasn’t been great this season, 25th in the league in fact. What that stat doesn’t show is that the Raptors have been getting some very crisp movement all season, especially in key possessions. The talent to translate that execution into points isn’t here, but let that not gloss over the fact that there’s something of substance when Casey has to draw up a play.

We saw that substance last night when Amir Johnson and Andersen completely cleared out Rajon Rondo, allowing DeRozan to get to the wing and forcing Garnett to help. Credit to DeRozan for catching Garnett’s bad angle and taking it to the rim. Two FTs and two points. The Raptors scored their last ten points on FTs which healed some of the wounds inflicted by that loss in Chicago where we missed three down the stretch to lose it.

Here’s that play I’m talking about:

It’s funny how we were 1-11 against the Garnett-led Celtics while Bosh was here and we were trying to “contend”. Now that we’re officially shit, we’re 3-5 against them. Either they’re looking past us in the schedule, or they’re not as good as they used to be. Or is it that Bosh pissed his pants whenever he saw KG? True! In my mind, we just did this to the Celtics.

See you at the party.

  • cesco

     Tank nation ; Hasta la vista

    • cesco

       The Raps are taking an early running start to next season . Beating up on false pretenders with a D-league team (according to some brainy people here at RR and Sir Charles) .

  • Jwb

    Gutsy performance late in the fourth to hold off the Celts.

  • Darien

    The problem with D league teams is that some unknown guy jumps out with no scouting report and then quickly reminds everyone why he didnt stick in the NBA. Quincy Douby, that Hassan guy I cant remember his name, Will Solomon – all these guys had decent games once or twice and we were all like NBA CHAMPIONS HERE WE COME PLAN THE PARADE COLANGELO YOU GENIUS

    …and then over the span of the season they returned to normal and turned to shit. JJ are you our Tyrus Thomas? I think Casey will give people a fair shake if they at least try on defense. I dont know what is happening here, but Johnson is putting a good 3-4 bullets in his revolver and playing russian roulette with his NBA career. Alan Anderson is now lighting up the league raining down threes like fire on judgement day and I hope that lasts (it won’t), Justin Dentmont got cut by SA and we should cut him too, Forbes wowwed early – no idea where he is now? How many scrubs am I still missing? A lot?


    • cesco

      They won 3 of the last 5 games against Boston , next year they will start beating up on the likes of Miami . OKC 2.0 .

      • DC

        Damn cocaine is a hell of a drug. 

  • mountio

    The definition of a useless win. Are we developing a winning culture for d-leaguers that wont even be here next year? Can we please, please, please lose the rest this year and not screw up our chance to get a half decent player .. ?

    • cesco

       This draft is supposed to be stacked with quality players , what is the worry ? .

      • mountio

        deeper than most .. sure. But there is a BIG difference between top 3-5 (which means MKG or Beal) or 6-8 where you start to get into (gulp) Sullinger range 

      • voy

        I dont think this draft is as stacked as some think.  Alot of the hype about this year’s draft had to do with A.Davis, PJ3, Drummond and Jeremy Lamb (to an extent), being pegged as possible franchise changing players.  Although, I like J.Lamb, its obvious now only A.Davis has that potential. 

        • cesco

           Nilanka said Davis is no Lebron or Duncan . So not even him is 100% guarantee . I would agree .

          • mountio

            .. and if Nilanka said it, it MUST be true …

            • Nilanka15


          • voy

            a.davis is not going to have the immediate (offensive)impact that duncan or lebron had but in a few years, once he’s fully figured out all the things he can do with his body, that just fairly recently sprouted on him, the guys is gonna be the an elite nba defender – certainly good enough to change the direction of a floundering organization.  He is not gonna make a team into a title challenger all by himself, but he is a damn good start.

            I even suspect his offense will get better than most expect but to tell you the truth even if he gave zero on O  he would still be the easy #1 pick. 

    • pdjjw

      Like a lot of RR members, I desperately want as high a draft pick as we can achieve but for a while now I’ve wanted to pose a question to the proponents of TankNation.  How exactly does a team of professional athletes tank?  I mean last night’s lineup was what, one rung above a D league team?  And they still managed to knock off one of the hottest teams since the All Star break.  Short of lying down on the floor for significant minutes in the game, how are they supposed to pull off this tanking thing?

      I can understand management fielding as sub-standard a team as possible with the goal of under performing.  I actually think BC has done a pretty good job of that this year.  But how do you get coaches and players who have the desire to win in their DNA to intentionally lose?  And if you somehow could, would you really want any of those individuals as part of your go-forward plan? 

      I’m not trying to be obtuse here and I’m not picking on mountio because he’s far from the only person on this board to talk about losing like it’s a choice.  I’m just trying to understand exactly how TankNation thinks the mechanics of tanking works when it comes to players and coaches.

      • cesco

        Tank nation is made up of losers , why ask them to explain their thinking .
        They would want to tank forever and ever until the new Oden show up at the door . What has Orlando achieved with DH , sweet fk-all .

      • mountio

        The point isnt that we think it makes sense for players to lay down and / or coaches to do the same. Any resonable fan wants players to play hard and would expect that of them. What we can expect, however, is management to do things like shutting down players early at any sign of injury (which we have done with AB, for example).

        What I take issue with is fans that somehow think a win like last nights win is good for the team, because it creates a “winning culture”. This is the biggest load of shit I have ever heard. We will get a winning culture once we have the talent to compete and win night in and night out (which we clearly do not now). The only way to get that is to get higher draft picks, and thus get better talent.

        So – its actually quite simple .. “tanknation” .. is simply a group of people that recognize that losing right now is the best thing for the franchise long term. Winning a few more games to finish, say, 7th last vs 4th last does absolutely nothing productive for the franchise….

        • pdjjw

          I understand what TankNation is and what it wants.  I’m also of the opinion that the team is in need of significant upgrades in talent at a number of positions.  I think most fans are.  But my question was about the specifics of how you tank.  

          You mentioned shutting down players at the first sign of injury.  AB missed a good chunk of the season to the calf and both he and JB have been shut down for the season due to their injuries.  As I recall, LK, DD, JC have all lost games to injury as well so I don’t  see a pattern of management forcing players to play through pain.  But if a player is healthy/able to play, what should management do?  Simply bench them?

          I really am trying to understand how TN thinks tanking happens. You’ve agreed that it’s not something the coaches & players can or should do.  Are there other management techniques?  Short of intentionally fielding a team of #12-#15 bench players every night, I don’t know how you do it.  Even then, you’d have a different discussion with your fan base, media and ownership about the product you’re putting on the floor because this is also a business.  

          Perhaps it’s overly simplistic, but from what I see, tanking might just be a desire without a means of implementation.  And that’s sometimes referred to as a wish.  Which is fine because everyone has wishes.  But I wish folks would stop implying it’s some sort of easily achievable strategy.

          • mountio

            Yes – I grant you, its not some overly orchestrated thing where the coach calls plays for the shittiest players and sits guys when they are hot, etc.
            Its as simple as giving scrubs as much time as possible and hoping for the best. We did that last night .. we probably lose that game with those lineups 98 times out of 100. It didnt work last night .. thats ok. My only point is dont applaud last night like its some sort of accomplishment .. because its a step backward for this team long term

            • pdjjw

              I actually hadn’t commented on last night’s win one way or the other.

              Thanks for taking the time to try and clarify. It’s appreciated.

              • mountio

                i know .. that wasnt directed at you it was directed generically at people who thinking we gained a “winning culture” from last nights game and somehow that is more valuable then the draft %ages that we lost ..

                • CJT

                  You have to admit though, it does feel a bit good to beat up on the Celtics.  Everyone hates those a-holes.  I would have been fine to see them lose as well.  But was happy to watch KG sulking.

                • Ardefen

                  ‘everbody hates the celtics’
                  true, except for one exception; i’m counting on them, praying for them, to put a stop to the heat in the eastern conference. i’d hate to see bosh, lebron actually win a championship.

        • voy

          exact-a-mundo.  the only thing I’d change is “tanknation is a group of people that recognize that losing  right now is not the end of the world”.  I dont think its about WANTING the team to lose.  I think its about recognizing that calling for the head of the coach, or the team’s best player, or wanting to trade for a 38 year old point guard just because he is canadian are counter-productive suggestions.  Same goes with the complaints “we lost again!! Why cant we win with scrub 1 and scrub 2 playing 30 minutes a game? we are gonna suck forever as long as italians are running the show”.

          I think tanknation is a group of people that recognize you cant contend and rebuild at the same time.  Looks like the raps have figured that out.  Hopefully the leafs can too.

      • 511

        Trying to resist joining in on responding here, but … my fingers are typing beyond my control. Which is never good. But the subject interests me these last months. 

        First, to my mind, living in ank-Tay ity-Cay (I don’t like to use the T word in direct relation to the team if I don’t have to) isn’t a choice as much as it is an acceptance of what just *is*. Or … you know, might be. 

        Up to a year or so ago, I frankly bristled whenever someone would openly promote the idea of tanking. It seemed stupid, bogus, counterproductive and just plain wrong. (And really, that attitude might still be a part of my DNA.) But then, in a moment of near epiphany, I not only saw that it had likely been a very real part of past (various) teams’ strategies; it may well have been a successful one. Thing is, one can never say with complete certainty who did and who didn’t (nobody would ever admit to it, understandably), but simply, there have been teams who have not played key players (due to injury, usually, real or exaggerated – who can say?) during stretches of games that have then been lost, who have subsequently found themselves in a better position for the lottery. There are no guarantees of course, but if a team has little hope of making noise in the playoffs, it’s easy to imagine that they might rather take their chances in the lottery than do a quick wash-out in the post-season. 

        I won’t point to games played by our team this season when it might’ve seemed that defeat was cleverly snatched from the jaws of victory (could I if I was so inclined? … perhaps, though if it ever did actually happen, the obvious ones might’ve numbered only a couple or so), but when it’s done right (again, IF it’s done at all), there’s always an alternate reason or three as to why whatever happened on the floor, happened. But one thing that some around here have noted is how this team has often played UP to the level of better teams … and down to the level of some of the lesser teams. That happens, regardless, yes, but … it is something that might roll around one’s head, at times. Especially when considering who we’ve beaten and almost beaten … and who we’ve (then) lost to. 

        It’s a misty, cloudy goddam thing that I doubt anyone could ever really put their finger down on firmly. Which is how it would have to be, if it does go on. But in this league, where one very good player can have a very large impact, part of the dog-eat-dog ways of things-that-are, the choice of aiming for the playoffs or aiming to NOT be in the playoffs (lottery) is something that any team management would be naive to not consider and at least, strategically talk about. Or around. 

        As for individual players being ‘in’ on the long-term team strategy … it’s very hard to imagine that being likely, all things considered. Whether it would be impossible or not that someone could have an informal, quiet, off-the-record conversation with a key player to help him, say, better understand why the extra time in letting an injury heal is being taken … I couldn’t say. But again, I’d doubt it. 

        But there ya go. I think I’ll go wash my hands now. 

  • 511

    Arse, you’re like the sensei who effortlessly explains that which I saw and that which I didn’t quite. And I nod in appreciation. 

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Great W!!!

    I like watching the Raptors play w/o Jose & AB on the court- now trade them both this off season and get some assets back in return and move this team forward instead of stagnating on 2 also ran (as Raptors) players!!

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    And KG, along with Rasheed Wallace, has always had CB’s number when they match up.

    Those 2 players give (gave) CB fits on the court for whatever reasons.

    • Coolio

      Because they were tough and CB was soft. “You’ve got to watch people’s legs. I know guys want to hustle and everything but we all want to play and provide for our families and have a job.” On Omer Asik hustling for ball.

  • why

    If ever a visiting team should have been booed for lack of effort it was The Celtics last night – I doubt there is one team in the NBA they could have beaten with last night’s effort.

    The reports of the revival of the cs is greatly eggagerated – they may make the play-offs however I can’t see them beating anyone.

    • why

      not to mention exagerated

      • Bendit

        ….or exaggerated!

    • Tonious35

       eggagerated…I’m hungry of omelets now!

  • Tonious35

    Almost pleased the tank-commanders and tank-cadets from the game ending game, but Boston was just dicking around and let us took the damn game.

    2nd quarter with Sasha Pavlovic and none of the starters, was an obvious message from Boston that they thought they could win the game with no effort.  I know Doc Rivers wanted to rest his starters, but that was clearly dooming his team to lose an 11-point lead.  

  • Tonious35

    That video showed me how a capable 6′ 8-9″-shooter-SF-intangible-forward can do for a team.  Reminds me of those limited Garbo-days