Despite Boston suiting nine players with no starter over the age of 22, the Celts managed to trouble the Raptors long enough to cast doubts over the mental makeup of the Raptors team. A painful and miserable Raptors effort for the majority of the contest saw them give Boston every opportunity to pull this game out. But sanity prevailed and Toronto came out with a very hard-earned 95-86 win.
Boston had no business being in the game but the Raptors bailed them out by playing down to the level of the competition. Raptors, despite an aggressive Chris Bosh and TJ Ford, never managed to create any distance and if it weren’t for a plethora of Boston turnovers in the first half and Gerald Green making the worst decisions possible on offense, it easily could’ve been the Celtics who might have had a double digit lead at the end of the half.
Raptors nursed a one point half-time lead and Boston stayed competitive midway through the third when Ford, Bosh (18 of his 27 in second half) and the Raptors got some defensive stops and opened up a seven point lead. The early part of the fourth quarter saw the Celtics’ wheels fall off and Leo Rautins even offered to open the refrigerator door for Chuck Swirsky who wisely declined. After opening up a 17 point lead courtesy of timely threes by Anthony Parker and Andrea Bargnani the Celtics, to their credit, didn’t die. They staged another run and got to within5 but Jose Calderon hit a backbreaking three with 1:47 left to seal the deal.
The Raptors were lethargic, uninterested and expected Boston to fold early. Once that didn’t happen, the Celtics got some confidence and the likes of Sebastian Telfair and Gerald Green started draining threes. Al Jefferson got some hoops inside and played commendable defense on Bosh in the first half, making Doc Rivers afford the thought that his squad might have a chance. TJ Ford (5 TO’s) got sucked into a one-on-one battle with Sebastian Telfair which hurt the Raps. Not because Telfair got the better of him, but because it deviated from team play. Ford overall had a nice night going 7-11 for 19 points and 6 assists. If Boston’s inexperienced youth hadn’t committed 20 turnovers and shown a little more composure, this easily could’ve been a loss.
Here’s some Raptors grievances with the refs:
- TJ Ford gets incorrectly called for a clear-path foul.
- Bosh gets a technical foul for dunking over Michael Olowakandi and staring the Raptors bench.
- TJ Ford, who should’ve had a clear-path foul, was given a non-shooting one.
I was really aggravated by Rasho Nesterovi’s soft hands and his inability to go up strong but that will be addressed in a separate blog entry. Jorge Garbajosa’s shot has deserted him and the Raps could afford to do without it today. For Sunday against the Mavs, it better be on or Dallas will have a field day playing the zone.
Chuck brought out the salami and cheese with 31 seconds left which left Leo questioning the onions of the call.