Whatever it is that you would expect when a 27-7 team who is 15-2 at home hosts a 12-23 team who is 5-13 on the road, you got it on Friday night in Boston.
The Raptors hung with the Celtics for about four or five minutes before the flood gates opened.
If you watched the first quarter, you saw that the Raptors actually weren’t playing that poorly (but they did commit six turnovers), and yet still found themselves down 12 after giving up 34 points. The message was sent in that opening quarter: either play above your heads, or prepare to be run out of the building.
Jay Triano said that on Wednesday in Cleveland, he didn’t need to say anything after the first quarter. All he had to do was write “38 points” (the amount the Raps had given up in the first quarter that night). Well on Friday night in Boston, Triano should have simply written “Luke Harangody.”
The rookie out of Notre Dame was enjoying a coming-out party against the Raptors, and the embarrassment of that alone should have woken the team up.
More turnovers, atrocious defence and an all around lackadaisical second quarter all but sealed the Raptors fate. The Raps headed to the break down 22, and the Celtics were shooting a blistering 66 per cent thanks to the piss-poor Toronto defence.
The Raptors getting trounced in Boston should come as no surprise, so fans shouldn’t have been too upset.
But having said that, the young Raptors are still expected to at least pretend they despise losing. Aside from DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon, if you watched the players’ reactions in the first half, you could see there was really no problem with getting skunked.
Even more frustrating for fans was the lack of playing time given to Julian Wright. Wright has been one of the few consistent performers for Toronto this season, is the team’s best defender, does all the little things right and was coming off of his best showing of the season in Cleveland. Considering all of that, and considering that defence would be necessary to hang with the stingy Celtics, it was mind-boggling to see Wright play only five minutes in that ugly first half and just 13 minutes overall.
The second half was filled with missed opportunities for the Raptors. Here were the most glaring of those opportunities.
With the Raps down 15 in the third quarter, the Celtics miss a shot and four Raptors hover around the basket. Somehow, Ray Allen comes up with the rebound, which results in a Nate Robinson three-pointer. Later in the third, the Raptors have it down to 13 and Andrea Bargnani is backing down Glen Davis. He proceeds to fire an air ball from the paint.
Early in the fourth quarter, Toronto had actually sliced the deficit down to 12, and were able to get a stop. Leandro Barbosa then launches a rocket-pass off of Linas Kleiza and out of bounds. The Raptors get another stop, Barbosa gets the ball again, and promptly throws it away…again. Barbosa then attempted to redeem himself on the defensive end by leaving Ray Allen open, which quickly resulted in an Allen three.
In a matter of minutes, the Celtics lead was back up to 21.
Yes, the Celtics did dominate the Raptors, as expected. But the Raps also had their opportunities to make it interesting, and repeatedly shot themselves in the foot when presented with those opportunities.
From an individual standpoint, no one was really good, but DeRozan, Calderon and Kleiza were at least respectable. Most of the men in red were cringe-worthy on this night, to put it mildly. And perhaps no one was worse than Andrea Bargnani. After scoring 48 points in his first two games back from injury, I expected Andrea to attack the Celtics bigs and create some matchup problems.
Instead, Bargnani was thoroughly outplayed by Luke Harangody. Need I write more?
Raptors Player of the Game: DeMar DeRozan – 42 Min, 20 Pts, 8-15 FG, 4-4 FT, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk
Celtics Player of the Game: Luke Harangody – 27 Min, 17 Pts, 8-11 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 0-1 FT, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk
Goat of the Game: Leandro Barbosa – 26 Min, 15 Pts, 5-13 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT, 1 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO