If there’s been one glaring concern through five games, outside of the obvious backup point guard question, it’s the fact that the Raptors have turned the ball over a ridiculous 109 times, turning it over at least 21 times in four out of their five games and an average of about 22 times per game. For perspective, Houston committed the most turnovers per game last season with just 15.8 and no team has committed more than 18 per game in over 10 years. You can look at those numbers as evidence that turning it over this frequently is unsustainable and just a pre-season trend, but nevertheless, it hasn’t been pretty.
Fields reiterated Wednesday night that it’s still not quite back to where he would like it to be, but it is getting better. “At least I’m taking them now,” he said of his perfect 1-for-1 night from three-point range. “That’s a step in the right direction.” Fields was actually being humble. For the night he was 5-for-7 from the field, including that one three-ball and wound up with 14 points, second highest on the team.
“I’m not just looking for points from Terrence,” Casey said. “I’m looking for him to make (good) decisions with the ball and then definitely on the defensive end which he gave us (Wednesday). The points from him (in the pre-season) are gravy. I don’t want him out there looking to score. We know he can score. He has to take that next step where he can defend and make the decision: ‘Where is my next option?’” Casey said what he’s looking for from Ross over these final few games is making the right call when he doesn’t have a good shot. He wants him finding the next best option rather than just taking the tough shot and hoping for the best.
While Olynyk pieced together another strong individual effort, it wasn’t enough to save a road-weary Celtics team that played in Brooklyn the night before. Boston put up a solid fight against the Raptors, but couldn’t keep up with Toronto’s reserves in the second half. After holding a two-point advantage at half, Boston’s offence fell apart late in the third quarter. Unable to score over the final 4:50 of the third, the Celtics missed their final seven shots to close out the quarter and allowed Toronto to go on an 11-0 run to take a 10-point lead into the fourth. “Defence leads to offence,” said Ross. “Especially with the second unit.”
The preseason is not necessarily indicative of regular season performance. In fact, in most cases what happens in the preseason — win-loss records, individual player performances, lineups — should be summarily dismissed. The regular season is a whole new beast with a whole new set of expectations and goals. It stretches over a much longer period of time and is rife with high peaks and low valleys. It is almost impossible to predict. Except for this year. This season, the Celtics team you’ve seen Brad Stevens trot out for this annual ritualistic meaninglessness is the same team you will watch night in and night out. It’s best we all get comfortable.
Unfortunately, the Celtics came out of the half flat and couldn’t find a way to add to their lead. The two squads essentially went shot for shot until Boston was victimized by an 11-0 Raptors run during the final four to five minutes of the third. But as the fourth quarter unfolded, the Celtics put together a true preseason comeback during what seemed to be garbage time. Both teams had most of their reserves on the floor when MarShon Brooks decided to take the game into his own hands. The third year man was able to get his team within two points but that’s as close as the Celtics would get.
Trailing by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, Olynyk helped Boston fight back in the second, getting the best of fellow Gonzaga alum Austin Daye with a devastating combination of size, strength and pristine footwork around the basket. The Celtics’ rookie fuelled a 13-1 Boston run with nine points and four rebounds during that stretch, giving his team a four-point lead and chasing Daye, who would go on to foul out in 10 minutes, from the game.
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