Late last night turned into noon this morning because I came home from the game last night with a wicked headache. This isn’t unusual after games, either. I think it’s a result of going from the noise, energy and intensity during the game to the absolute quiet after it that brings them on, but whatever. It’s how things go.
As you all know by now, the Raptors lost 117-112 to the Boston Celtics. If you were watching, you know that the final score is only a result of a wild fourth quarter where the Raptors bench outscored Boston’s bench 39-16. Yeah. The first three quarters were pretty uninspired basketball. Perhaps the best way to describe it if you weren’t watching would be to say that the Celtics completely dominated just about every statistical category through three. It wasn’t pretty for Raps fans, nor for their coaching staff. Jay Triano was not a happy man postgame. Alright, some thoughts:
- While the Raptors fought back in the fourth against the Celtics bench lineup, I still think there is a positive to take from here: During the second half of last season, we’ve seen games where the team wasn’t able (or didn’t want to) fight back. Sure, a loss is a loss is a loss, and yes, when playing against the reserve lineup the Celtics had on the floor in garbage time you’re supposed to be able to close the gap, but still a little bit of light in an otherwise dreary game.
- Going along with the previous bullet point, I received a text from a friend during the fourth as Marcus Banks (10 points, eight free throw attempts in 15 minutes) charged down the court and was fouled:
“This is the hardest Marcus Banks has ever played in his
life. Bar none.”
That one cracked me up. Banks was hustling out there, as were the rest of the Raptors, as Sonny Weems led the way with 14 points in the final quarter.
- If you needed to be reminded, the lineup the Raptors went with for most of the fourth was Weems, Banks, Joey Dorsey, Julian Wright and a combo of Solomon Alabi (who looked very aggressive in his minutes) and Reggie Evans. Yup. Didn’t expect to see that one either. Things looked scattered and out of control, but that’s what happens when you’re down 28 in the fourth quarter and reel off a 24-4 run to get within four.
- One thing this game showed us was that the new tech rules won’t be going anywhere, at least not during preseason. Just moments after commenting that the officials were allowing guys to slightly react after calls as well as engaging in discussions/explanations with players about calls they didn’t agree with, we had a third quarter that lasted almost 40 minutes because of techs and the officials reviewing plays. It’s tough to get on board with the new rules when you’re sitting courtside and don’t have a clue what a player did to receive a T. I still think things will get better when the regular season his (I think they have to), and that both players and officials will find a middle ground. I hope.
- There were four technicals in the game with Reggie Evans, Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and Glen Davis all owing the league 2G’s.
- Barbosa’s speed will be one of those things that continues to amaze even when you see it every day. The people on press row who have covered him for years couldn’t help but comment on it. That speed will be something the Raptors need to take advantage of this season. Jarrett Jack had a beautiful pass, threading the ball through two Celtics defenders to a streaking Barbosa for the layup in the first half.
- Watching the Celtics up close, it’s cool to see how Doc Rivers allows the people around him to take over when they’ve got something to say. Whether it’s an assistant coach or a player, Rivers took the backseat to allow someone on his squad have their say. One exchange that was funny was watching Kevin Garnett take over a timeout, explaining something very emphatically to rookie Luke Harangody. Harangody keeps nodding his head then turns to an assistant for clarification when KG is done.
- There was a weird sequence where the C’s thought the wrong Raptors player is at the free throw line. While the officials are reviewing tape, KG goes over to Rivers and asks, “What do you need from us, Doc?” This team is serious. Before the game Rivers acknowledged that you don’t ever forget the pain of losing in the finals and that for this team, the hardest part is knowing how hard they’ll have to work and how big the mountain is that they’ll need to climb just to get back to the finals to compete for the championship again. It’s easy to see that his guys are aware of that, too.
- Pregame, I wanted to talk to Barbosa about his shoe situation when Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun told me about Barbosa exchanging shoes with Derrick Rose in Chicago so he had something to play in. Apparently, Barbosa sent a locker room attendant into the Bulls locker room to ask Rose for a pair of his shoes and the locker room attendant came back with a pair of autographed D-Rose shoes while telling Barbosa that Rose would like a pair of Barbosa’s shoes in return, also autographed. That wasn’t what Barbosa had in mind and tried explaining it to the attendant who didn’t want to have to go back to Rose for another pair of shoes, before Barbosa said it would be fine because Rose is his friend then went to take care of it himself.
- I wasn’t able to talk with him because he was sitting in his locker reading his Bible pregame. A man’s shoe game might be important, but it’s not that important. The important thing is both Weems and Barbosa are wearing the right shoes.
- Joey Dorsey on how much the suspension will cost him: I don’t know, don’t want to know. Just take that money out of my cheque so I don’t even see it.
- I heard that Dorsey called Brian Scalabrine after the game to apologize for the swing. He didn’t volunteer this info but I’ll ask him about it when I get a chance.
- Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels looked great for the Celtics. Daniels has been working on his 3-point shot over the offseason and it paid off last night, as he hit both of his attempts, finishing with 14 points. Robinson scored a game-high 23 points off of the bench on 6-for-12 shooting. It looks like he’s finally figured out how to fit into the Celtics system.
- On the Raptors side of things: Dorsey picked up seven boards in seven minutes of play. Weems scored all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter and had a team-high four assists. Linas Kleiza had 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Jarrett Jack played just 13:30 in the game, and attempted just three shots. Andrea Bargnani shot 5-for-16 from the floor and grabbed five boards and there was some discussion postgame among the media of whether this might have been his best effort so far this preseason. That’s a little worrisome.
- If you were wondering: Bargnani is shooting 16-for-64 through five preseason games.
- Funny typo of the night: Raptors postgame quotes sheet says,
“(2-3) Toronto Raptors, 112 vs. (5-1) Boston Celtics, 1170″
That’s how it felt through three.
- Alright, it’s off to practice I go. Will be back with more this afternoon.