We already know about the Raptors’ injury situation. Boston had their own issues with Rajon Rondo a question mark heading into this one. The verdict came down about an hour prior to game time that he would play. This made the Raptors chances of stealing a win today drop significantly. It is an early start so maybe will catch the Celtics sleeping. More likely outcome is the Raptors get blown out and I nod off during third quarter.
Celtics like many teams have done went right at Jonas with K.G and he hit’s a jumper. Andrea Bragnani the guy everyone wants to run out of town opens the scoring for the Raptors. Bargnani would keep things going with a basket to tie the game at 4 but would miss the and-1 free throw. Paul Pierce in same situation would not make it 7-4 Celtics. He would hit a three on the next possession to make it 10-4. Things were not looking good for the Raptors early in this one and that likely is not a surprise.
Raptors got a steal and DeRozan missed a mid range shot which lead to Jonas picking up a foul going for the rebound. Raptors with a defensive meltdown with 3 guys on Rondo and he makes the pass for an easy assist. Right after that Jonas picks up his second foul and Amir Johnson checks in who is under the weather we are told by Matt Devlin. Raptors get an easy bucket as Jose with a rare long bomb pass on the money to McGuire who again started at small forward and he finishes this off with a slam. Raptors still down 18-11 still 4:22 left in the first quarter.
Bargnani back to his form this season chucks a three misses it and Celtics take advantage in transition and this game was rapidly getting out of reach as Casey calls a time out with score Boston 22-11. Former Raptor Leandro Barbosa checks in for Celtics and blows by John Lucas also in the game and kicks it back for an easy two for Boston. Raptors were struggling to the finish of yet another start to forget, Courtney Lee would add to the pain with a long two or was it a three. In any case the Celtics lead 30-17 and for Raptors fans on the west coast it was time to go back to bed.
Second quarter got off to a slow start with Kevin Garnett getting to the line providing the only 3 points of the first two minutes at the line. More problems for the Raptors as Amir Johnson picks up his third foul and Jonas already has two. This with the Raptors already down 14 with score 33-19 and lacking health bodies. Raptors make a push to try and get back in this as John Lucas III makes it a ten point lead. Celtics were taking full advantage of Jonas making sure K.G got lots of looks against him when he was on the floor with K.G. He hits again and has 11 to this point. Raptors were flirting with getting this game into single digits. The latest flirtation thanks to Jose three making it 40-31 Celtics.
Ed Davis would get the Raptors to within a touchdown with an offensive put back score. Raptors, which had got down by as many as 16 were now down just 4 courtesy of a John Lucas III scoring. Jason Terry would stop the bleeding with a jumper in transition but another John Lucas III triple makes it a three point game. Pierce would dunk on Jonas and he would pick up his third foul. This seemed to have woken up Pierce as he would score again and lead was back up to 7. Rare Quincy Acy sighting late in the half with all the foul trouble for the bigs. Raptors get this to a respectable 5 point Celtics advantage at the half.
Andrea Bargnani misses a shot to go 2/7 he has not made a shot since the first two minutes of this game. You likely saw this coming but Celtic come out and quickly extend the lead to 9 points leading 51-42 prompting Dwane Casey to take a time out under two minutes into the third quarter. Calderon hit’s a three out of the time out to open the books for the Raptors in the second half. DeRozan a drive to the hoop and score and this was a four point game.
At 8:17 of third quarter Bargnani shows sign of life with a lay-up. He would miss a jumper soon after but Ed Davis got the offensive board and kicked it out to Bargs for a three. Raptors were on a roll as the Raptors get a Calderon to DeRozan hooked up to cut the lead to just two 55-53. Raptors would fall off but Bargnani may have woken up after a stupid turnover on a travel he would hit another three to make it a three point Celtics lead. Bargnani with a drive to the hoop and drawing contact getting to the line makes both and at this point still down two for the Raptors as they can’t break through and take a lead.
Raptors were fight hard and even Bargnani included but could not break through and take the lead. Burning a lot of gas in the tank which may not bode well for the fourth quarter. Maybe Sooner than that as Boston begins a surge to increase the lead to nine with 1:55 left in third. It would continue from there as Jeff Green would but the Celtics up a dozen. Boston finishes the push with Terry three and 15 point lead heading to the fourth. Rajon Rondo had 19 assists in just 3 quarters as Boston leads 79-64.
The Celtics left little doubt who would win extending the lead to 21 less than two and half minutes into the fourth. Quincy Acy coming in was a clear sign Dwane Casey was admitting defeat and living to fight another day tomorrow against Orlando in a much more realistic chance to win. Raptors came close and knocked on the door a few times but Boston slammed it shut at 63-61 and was not answering it for the rest of the afternoon.
Rajon Rondo was brilliant in his return to the Boston lineup and continues his personal mastery of the Toronto Raptors. Next time these two teams meet up will see if Kyle Lowry can change that. As for this time it was all Boston all day with the easy win 107-89.
Bargnani’s short comings were on full display in this game. As was the Raptors total lack of ability to contain Rajon Rondo. The good news if there was any is this was decided early and Raptors have no excuses for tomorrow vs. Orlando.