The Boston Celtics began their road trip and back to back to back set over the weekend with an absolute stinker in Toronto.
The Raptors (who are wounded and even terrible when healthy) defeated the Celtics 84-79 and quite frankly the entire Boston team is to blame. Credit the Raptors for not giving up and withstanding a late but ultimately futile Celtics run in the final 4 minutes. Toronto nearly squandered a 15 point fourth quarter lead but it begs to question what were the Celtics doing down by 15 anyway.
The Celtics effort with the exception of the final four minutes was pedestrian and at times even selfish. Allow me to explain.
Rajon Rondo who has been playing at a MVP level seemed only to care about extending his double digit assist game streak for most of the night. He was successful in that feat but he did not attack in nearly the same effective way as he had been recently.
The worst thing about it was he was guarded by Ben Uzoh and Justin Dentmon the entire night. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t know who they are because they are a couple of 10 day contract players the Raptors just scooped up. What should be alarming is how Rondo refused to attack them and try to score especially when the offense sputtered.
Doc Rivers inexplicable went away from his normal rotation in the second quarter as he thought the Celtics would be able to skate to victory against the wounded Raptors. I understand that Doc wants to get his guys rest especially with 3 games over the weekend, but in the 2nd quarter with the game still very much in question? No sir that was a mistake.
A lineup of Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic, Greg Steisma, and Ryan Hollins “graced” the floor in the middle of the second quarter. While they didn’t exactly play bad they were unable to extend the lead and kept the Raptors close in a game where they shot 23% at the end of the first half.
Simply horrifically amazing.
The Celtics finished the game shooting 37% themselves while holding the Raptors to 34%. Boston again got killed on the rebounds 50-37 as well as the free throw disparity. The Raptors made 27-31 from the line while Boston only managed to get 19 attempts connecting on 15. No need to blame the refs tonight as the C’s refused to go inside and didn’t deserve any calls to get to the line.
The Raptors detected that the Celtics had no real interest in the game and decided that since somebody had to win it might as well be them.
The Celtics forgot the “beware the wounded dog” cliche which is ironic since they have often been the wounded dog themselves. The start of this trip could not have been any worse and two more games against the Nets and Bobcats remain.
Boston continues to play to the level of their competition and that does not bode well for the rest of the weekend.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com