Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors

If it wasn’t obvious coming into the game, it should be painfully obvious after this game. The Celtics are a veteran playoff team and the Raptors are an inexperienced, surefire lottery team…albeit without an actual lottery pick.

Now let’s get to some thoughts on the game…

- So about the whole playoffs thing, while I’ve mentioned hundreds of times recently that no one Raptors-related should be talking post-season until this team actually strings some serious streaks together, plenty of fans on twitter and elsewhere still brought up the standings and the playoff race after nearly every game. After tonight, there should be no more of that. The Raptors are 8.5 games out. They’re 15 games under .500 with just 33 games left. They’ve lost six of seven games against the teams currently seeded seventh to ninth.

On that note, no decision made from here on out, whether it’s with respect to in-game coaching or team management, should be made with an eye to this season’s standings or false playoff hopes. Find a real backup point guard and then give Alan Anderson and Aaron Gray’s minutes to Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas in an effort to start putting together a playoff core for next season.

- Speaking of rookie minutes, Valanciunas and Ross combined for just 6:35 of playing time tonight with no field goal attempts between the two of them. Even more indicative of the lack of faith in the youngsters though, was the fact that Ross played less than five minutes when Alan Anderson and DeMar DeRozan combined to shoot 7-of-23 from the floor without either playing particularly good defence. It’s one thing if Anderson was still shooting well coming into this game, but he’s 8-of-41 over his last five games now and is negating any of his reputed “veteran presence” by chucking some offence-killing jumpers. At this point, you’re losing absolutely nothing by giving his minutes to Ross.

- Amir Johnson had a solid game of 16 points and 12 rebounds and also recorded a block for the ninth straight game, but a crucial mistake in crunch-time will overshadow some of that hustle. With the Raptors down three, some good defence forced a missed Paul Pierce jumper with just 18 seconds remaining. The rebound fell to Amir, but instead of securing the ball and either finding his point guard or calling timeout, he attempted to throw an unnecessary short pass to DeMar DeRozan, who dove to save the loose ball but landed out of bounds. It was the most “Raptors” way to lose another close game, as they got a big stop and would have had a chance for the tie (or at the very least to make it a 1 or 2-point game), but instead turned the ball over and were forced to send the Celtics to the free throw line.

- Rudy Gay had an absolutely awful fourth quarter (2 points on 1/9 shooting), but a few of those misses came on shots he can normally knock down and to his credit, he continued to attack the glass and defended well on the other end in the second half. Don’t get me wrong, the Raptors need him to be better down the stretch – after all, he’s supposed to be the “closer” – but without Gay’s overall effort in this game and his performance through three quarters, the Raptors aren’t in this game.

- In the third quarter, Gay and Kyle Lowry took the game over on both ends of the floor and were directly responsible for the Raptors building a 10-point lead, which the team subsequently blew within the first four minutes of the fourth quarter with Gay and Lowry on the bench. Watching John Lucas III run the offence is honestly one of the most painful things I’ve had to do as a Raptors fan since Will Solomon. He wasn’t even looking for his own shot tonight (he didn’t attempt a single field goal), and yet he was still a major disruption to the offence and a team worst -12 in just 10 minutes of action. It’s not for a lack of effort on Lucas’ part, but for the love of God, somebody call Ben Uzoh!

- If you thought the first two games with Gay in the lineup were a sign of things to come for DeMar DeRozan, Wednesday’s game against the Celtics should serve as a harsh reminder that things won’t always be so easy for DeMar. DeRozan was 5-of-16 from the field tonight and just generally looked out of sync in the offence. I know Matt Devlin, Leo Rautins and Jack Armstrong always talk about how DeRozan needs to start driving into contact instead of shying away from it on drives, but one thing I’ve noticed is that he can also use that advice on his jump-shots. There were at least three times tonight when DeRozan got his defender up in the air with a nice pump-fake, but instead of leaning in on his shot to draw the foul, he faded away to avoid the contact and ended up taking a more difficult shot.

What’s the point of baiting a guy into the air if you’re not going to use it to your advantage?

- We can’t wrap up without talking about Andrea Bargnani’s return to the lineup. Bargnani finished with a decent 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in nearly 24 minutes of action off of the bench to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. I thought his energy was fine and liked the fact that he kept the ball moving on offence, and I actually thought he did a solid job defending Kevin Garnett (I wouldn’t have minded seeing Bargnani on Garnett down the stretch), but there were also more than a few missed rebounding opportunities with Andrea on the floor, as usual.

By the way, I’m all for booing the home team or individual players if the paying crowd feels the effort wasn’t there on that particular night, but I’m not really sure what the point of booing a guy checking in for his first game in two months is, as some fans did to Bargnani when he checked in midway through the first quarter.

- I’ll close with a few words on the Celtics. While the five-game winning streak may be a bit of a mirage (after beating the Heat last Sunday, the other four wins have come over the Kings, Magic, Paul-less Clippers and now the Raptors), you still have to give Doc Rivers and this veteran team a ton of credit for pulling this off without any post-injury letdown whatsoever. Boston is now two games over .500, and if they continue to take care of the teams they should beat, they should still grind their way to 40 wins or more and another playoff berth.

Raptors Player Of the Game: Kyle Lowry – 17 Pts, 6/12, 3/6 3PT, 2/3 FT, 7 Reb, 8 Ast, 4 Stl, 4 TO in 37:52

Celtics Player Of the Game: Kevin Garnett – 27 Pts, 11/18 FG, 5/5 FT, 10 Reb, 2 TO in 32:18

Comments (59)

  1. Dwayne Casey is a horrible coach, for those who have yet to notice….

    • Agreed. The offensive play calling in the first minutes of the fourth quarter tonight has been atrocious. It’s not a coincidence anymore that the Raptors are leading the NBA in blowing 10+ point fourth quarter leads. Horrible coaching.

    • Pretty much.

      As expectations continue to rise over time, Casey will slowly get exposed for the bad coach he is, a guy who favours veterans no matter the situation and a guy who is incapable of developing young talent. Unfortunately, the expectations were set so incredibly low in his first year that fan boys were going to rave about the job he did even if the team showed up for the game on time and all the whining about the officiating this year has again saved him from being criticized for his late game management.

      • I agree Casey makes questionable rotation decisions — but is it not entirely possible that it isn’t Dwayne’s preference to ride the vets over the youngsters, but pressure from management/ownership that’s influencing him to do so? The Gay trade and Colangelo’s comments following it have all indicated that the Raps still think/thought they could make a playoff push THIS year, and maybe Dwasey is getting pressure from the guys upstairs to play his experienced guys in order to get there.

        That said, experience aside, Anderson wasn’t doing much to help the team late last night and Casey stubbornly stuck with him for far too long. In that case, I think you have to give Terrence a go and see if he can at least provide something on the floor, because Alan really wasn’t bringing much.

      • Stop using the word fanboys idiot.

    • He definitely makes some very strange decisions when it comes to his rotation, especially when it’s so obvious some times.

  2. Is there something in the water supply that makes Torontonians retarded? The crowd obviously didn’t learn their lesson during the Heat game when their incessant booing of Bosh prompted him to take over the fourth quarter and drain a game-sealing dagger three.

    Tonight the crowd decided to boo Bargnani who needs all the confidence he can get coming off an injury in the midst of another disappointing season. Why?

    To top off this trifecta of idiocy, the ACC drones decide what the hell, let’s boo Barbosa too – a guy who was traded last year for a second round pick, who responds with several timely threes of his own.

    Along with trading Bargnani, can we also trade the fanbase too?

    • Agreed. It’s a disgrace. Almost as bad as referring to a player who isn’t making you happy and had the poor misfortune of being picked 1st by lame italian food product taunts. Grow up.

  3. Playoffs?!

    This team can’t even win a god damn game!

    Don’t be talkin’ bout’ playoffs!!??

  4. Oh, you mean Bargnani, that guy who plays for “the worst team in the league”, shouldn’t have been booed?
    For me, and apparently not just me, that quote spelled the end for him in Toronto. If his heart isn’t in it – and it’s obvious it isn’t – he shouldn’t be here, and I’ll keep booing him until he gets traded.

    • I really think that this whole ”worst team in the league” thing was taken way out of context. Raps were awful then and he just stated what the standings were showing.

      I have issues with Casey’s rotations, yet him being ”a horrible coach” is a major stretch. He keeps pulling out wins out of nowhere with injured squad (since last year for that matter).

      I remember Doc River being the lightning rod from Bostons fans a few years ago before a big trade…

  5. How is Lowry the ‘player of the game’? Did you see the 2nd half of the game? I don’t think I’ve seen him play worse.

    • Huh? Did you watch the 3rd q? Raps were up by 10 because of lowry. Its funny if jose had a game like lowry’s all his fanboys would come out and say what a great pg he is and how we should resign him. Fuckin idiots.

      • @AD…

        Just thought I’d mention that so far:
        Calderon and his Pistons 0-2 since he has played…the Piston were rolling before he got there. Last night Calderon put up 9 dimes, only 8 pts (considering two of them were 3 pointers), and a glaring stat THREE t/o’s and a whopping (-7) – I know most people ignore that stat because its “new” but mostly because they don’t understand it….well it means that he was on the floor for -7 baskets OR the team is down 7-0 pts when he is on the floor – In summary, the team is behind 7 pts when he played last night. His first game against the Knicks – 15 pts (sure he got some of his – only shot 25% from the three that game) 3 smelly dimes and a whopping -9…WOW! he is -16 in two games – BOTH LOSES! This is why HE DOES NOT WIN! Nice guy, sure! But winner NOPE! This doesn’t mean I like Lowry better or even at all (but he is better then Calderon) so you can point out Lowry’s t/o’s (and ignore his 10 steals in 3 games and superior PG rebounding). Lowry is a whopping +20 in three games since Rudy arrived….Calderon, 1 steals, little to no rebounds a combined -16, just goes to show what players are most causing their teams to lose. Lowry gives the Raps a better chance at winning!

        • People understand +/- just fine. It’s just that most people realize that judging a player by it can be misleading as that player does not control the actions of the other 4 people on the court with them at any given time. Teams can score less/get scored on more regardless of the play on one individual on the floor with them.

        • I hate the +/- stat but I suppose it has some value. I prefer to use my eyes as well as other stats. Lowry can do more things on the court. For example, when was the last time anyone saw calderon actually go for an offensive rebound and get it in a crowd like lowry did in the 3rd q? Never. Those are big plays from a pg.

    • He wasn’t great in the final few minutes I admit, but as I mentioned in the post, he and Gay were the reason the Raptors built a double-digit lead in the third quarter. The Celtics then got back in the game with he and Gay on the bench.

      If you want to criticize his late turnover, that’s fine, but stating that you don’t think you’ve seen him play worse is just overkill. He was one of the best players on the court – for either team – for the majority of his minutes.

    • because almost a triple double is the worse game you have ever seen him play…..

  6. I’ve always been confused by the weird booing patterns of Toronto sports fans ie booing guys who were traded away and didn’t even willingly leave so the booing of Bargnani is pretty logical by comparison.

    Simply put, his time is up and he needs to be off this team. We can be just as shitty a team without him as we were with him and exponentially less frustrating.

  7. I don’t see a problem with booing Bargs. If he was having a really good game, then it would be stupid if it continued, but like all the other commenters have posted, he’s been here, he hasn’t really lived up to any potential and hasn’t shown much effort in the process. It’s as clear a signal as a fan can give that he has worn out his welcome.

    I have to agree as well that the substitutions this season (and last) haven’t made much sense for a team trying to develop young players, and the numbers of blown leads this seasonis on the coaching. Maybe there needs to be another assistant to focus on offense, and let Casey do the motivational stuff and defense. Otherwise he’ll prove himself a disappointment and potentially his poor fit could impede this team from collecting the necessary assets to contend with this core.

    I’m not ready for another rebuild, even if it’s done right. But I don’t want a mediocre playoff team either.

  8. Good to see j.v get some run . He walked to the annouce table got his tear aways off then got called back to sit down and thats all i seen of him . Dont understand how barny just walks in and gets his time back . I hope its just for his stock to rise . They should just let ross play back up point guard . He looks rusty out there due to lack of playing time

  9. Trade Bargs NOW.

    Rust is one thing – Not understanding fundamental foot positioning to get yourself in a spot on the court to take in rebounds or perhaps box out or even a crazier idea close down the inside lane is another thing.

    Bargs is just a waste of 7′. Waving at the air in the general direction of rebounds tonight while standing on the three point line dead-footed. How do we run a small ball offense with Rudy when our C is standing still at the three point line and won’t get dirty.

    Trade Bargs now and play JV. The season is over anyways lets at least develop a core athletic group for next year including a mobile C.

    If Bargs stays BC has to go!!

  10. I hate the direction this team is going. Ross and Val have somehow become bench jockeys . This isn’t good.

  11. I think casey knows what it takes to win, to build a defensive system, what rooks need to do to develop, how to be accountable. Having said that, i really have an issue with his PT spread, veterans have the right/need to play to close games, but these vets aren’t winning games. i’m glad Alan anderson has reclaimed his career in the nba but I always get the feeling with him ‘not in my back yard.’ If AA misses he’ll take another to ‘make up’ for it, if he scores he’s entitled to two more shots no matter what. Alan’s career was going nowhere until he realized he could only control himself. This guy got where he is by getting his own. Its really a shame to see t-ross and JV ride the pine, even in some games where they’ve been a hot player with no fouls, a veteran takes their spot in the 4th just because. Wheres the experience going to come from? Doing generates experience, not age

  12. We’re the best team in the league.

  13. Set the rookies free!

    • If this loss does anything, I hope it’s just that. Roll with Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Amir, JV, Ross, Acy , Bargs and another backup PG the rest of the way. I’d be legitimately interested in seeing how that team finishes the season.

      At least that lineup would give us some sort of indication of what to expect for next season as well as what changes need to be made before next season. At 8+ games back of a playoff spot, I don’t know how much we’ll learn about the future by watching Anderson and Gray log heavy minutes. Ideally, I was hoping that Anderson’s minimum contract would be coveted by a playoff contender for even a late second rounder, but that’s less likely the longer AA’s slump lasts.

  14. We met T. Ross at Real Sports Bar right after the game…he didn’t seem happy at all, but maybe that was because my buddy was getting a picture with him….he also said he won’t be taking part in the dunk contest.
    As for booing Bargs, we gave him a standing O for the hell of it, but I thought it was a pretty even split between booing and cheering in the entire crowd. I personally don’t see a problem with booing him, he made some less than smart comments and his play this season has been bad, but I thought he played well tonight. He may benefit more than Derozan (who really played terrible – STOP TAKING LONG TOUGH JUMP SHOTS) from Gay coming in, as he should get some open looks.

  15. Idk if anyone noooticed after the game j.v was walking in the tunnell with ross with his hand on his shoulder patting it . . They both looked upset. Just the camera angle there faces were not impressed . Still dont understand how barny got so much time on the floor . He hasnt earned anything at all . Poor coaching to let him walk right back in … Or is it BC in caseys ear ? God knows BC loves his primo and pasta

    • 13 points in 25 minutes off the bench off 5-for-10 shooting for his first game back, pretty straightforward to see why he played. Unless of course you’d rather Quincy Acy or Pietrus out there instead ..

      • Why jump to Pietrus and Acy? I think it’s obvious that most of us want to see our supposed future core out there — Val and Ross.

        • Well I didn’t mention them because they don’t really play in the same position

          • You sarcastically brought up Acy and Pietrus as replacements for Bargs, those guys don’t play the same position… I’m saying Val should get those minutes.

      • or you know j.v and quit going small ball with gay at the 4 and barny at center . bad coaching , put your worst rebounder at center ? a position barny doesn’t wanna play in the first place cause hes required to board .

    • Goes from starting and being the primary offensive option to reserve minutes off the bench… Yup, we walked right back into his role alright…

  16. And this is why Toronto can’t have nice things.

    Please trade Andrea BC, he deserves better then the tripe that is Toronto fans and media. The rebound comment was just a cheap comment from someone living in their own narrative rather than reality.

  17. Wasn’t AA on Pierce all night. I’m pretty sure his defence kept him from making any easy shots. His defence forced the shot with 18 seconds left.

    Fields is the guy who’s been doing the little things that will improve the second unit when his back is better.

  18. we have lost too many games because of Dwyane Casey’s poor late game management.

    Dwayne Casey, is great at getting the most out of his players, but it is as though he isn’t very intelligent. The reason we are able to stay so close for the first 3 quarters for most games is because most coaches stick to some kinda regular season rotation. This allows players to find a rythm, and know where and when there minutes are coming. BUT, Come fourth quarter (WINNING TIME) that kind of stuff needs to go out the window. In the fourth quarter, decisions need to be made based on matchups, the timing of runs, injuries etc. Basically, Dwyane has to forget his rotations, if that means riding Kyle Lowry hard since we traded our back up pg, so be it. We can’t watch just watch John Lucas run this team into the ground.

  19. Two players who have said to be available as good candidates for the back up PG spot – Will Bynum (Pistons) and JJ Brea (Minnesota).

  20. Raptors lost because of Kyle Turnovers and stupid offensive fouls. Also matchups were preety stupid AA on Pierce is dumb, AA couldnt even buy a basket and also KG was just being KG. Shooting jumpers at will with no D pressuring him to do anything.John Lucas is not a good enough pg to run the offence and that was clear in last nights game, damn they blew a 10 point lead when he was on. I never thought coach Casey made good enough choices when in comes to who is on the floor.The raptors wont make the playoffs and if they do are need to go on a serious run from now till the end of the season.

    • Uh oh, you’re going to get in trouble now for mentioning Kyle’s poor play at the end of the game. He’s the Raptors Player Of the Game despite his seemingly habitual bad decision making down the stretch .. and some wonder why he’s never been able to land a starting PG role.

  21. Joseph Casciero,

    It’s a good question as to why Valenciunas and Ross were given just a handful of minutes. The match was against Boston, so it was going to be difficult to win regardless of Bargnani’s return, who I thought played okay.

    I suspect one of two things, or both, may be happening: There may be an edict from Colangelo that Casey must win now in order to save his job, thereby relying less on the two rookies. Or, there may be an implied understanding from those above Colangelo that the Raptors have to win now in order for him to save his job. Maybe one of Colangelo’s selling points for trading for Rudy Gay was that it would get the Raptors to the playoffs? This is purely speculative, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Any way you slice it, the illusion that getting Rudy Gay transforms this team into a playoff team this season is just that, an illusion. The sooner the franchise comes to accept that, the sooner it can start looking for more competent people to run the team and coach it.

    • Given there’s still time for more trades, BC may be pushing for extra minutes to some very expendable pieces to try to up their trade value … Ross & JV aren’t going anywhere in the next few weeks…. Wishful thinking?

  22. Man that was bush to Boo Bargnani…I thought he played well despite it..

    You know, i hope he gets traded, i GUARANTEE he will make the raps regret it..Dude is super talented…

    And for the love of God, please get a backup point guard!

    • Bargnani has spent seven years earning all of those boos. If he doesn’t like them, he can step up and prove people wrong with his play.

  23. If it was up to Raptor fans we’d have a lineup of JYD, Matt Bonner, Reggie Evans, alvin williams and lonnie Baxter….And the fans would love it as they all the guys hustle for every rebound after each brick they toss up…

    You need talent to win in the NBA raptor fans!

    • Jose calderon as sixth man!!

    • Effort and energy are talents, just as much shooting. And Bargnani lacks them as badly as Reggie Evans lacks three-point range.

      As flawed as our team is, 1-3 is probably as athletic and talented as it has ever been for us … certainly since Carter ( or at least since Carter, Christie and Williams).

    • are you kidding me matt bonner would be money!

  24. I don’t think it’s fair for Raps fans to be questioning Caseys’ intelligence.

  25. lets bring in gay for our huge wing guy we never had only to play him at the 4 spot ? and barny at the center , who is rebounding ? when they both stand at the 3 point line . this small ball line up is retarded .

  26. Why does Derozan seem to always get a pass on his play and EVERYTHING is Barg’s fault. Derozan has a lousy jump shot outside 12 feet yet he is shooting from deep even more since Gay arrived. If Derozan doesn’t go to the basket, he doesn’t get free throws and his points disappear. Barg’s has the same stat line as DD in 12 less minutes after being away for 2 months and all that is said is Barg’s doesn’t rebound. Show me the stats on how many rebounds the guy Barg’s is defending is pulling down. If it is a high number then keep blaming him for all the raps woes. If it is not, then start spreading the blame around because demar is NOT worth 9.8!

  27. Hear there are trade rumors of Chicago and Toronto for Boozer and Bargnani. As long as they take Fields with them this would be a terrific trade!

  28. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Amir Johnson and how hard he plays..but that play at the end might be the most bone-headed of all the dumb plays he’s ever made. What on earth was he thinking?! Instead of securing a crucial rebound, he decided to play hot potato. Only the raptors man…

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