With under a minute to go in the fourth quarter, the Celtics were trailing the Toronto Raptors by three, 95-92. Inexplicably, they fouled intentionally. At least it seemed that it was intentional. Chris Babb fouled Dwight Buycks (who?!?!) made both free throws to make it a 5 point game that the Raptors would not relinquish. MarShon Brooks did hit a three just after that, but it turned into a make a shot and foul game at the end. And what a final couple of possessions it was. The C’s ran a beautiful play to get Jared Sullinger a lay-up, then went into full court pres mode. That’s when you cue the Benny Hill music.
Toronto broke the press with the Hail Mary to Julyan Stone who blew a wide open dunk. Trailing by two, the C’s scrambled to get a shot off. Jordan Crawford missed a fall-away bomb from the left wing that came up short. Sully grabbed the airball but short-rimmed the lay-up. It was a circus ending that words cannot describe. Either way it is another loss, bringing their preseason record to 1-5. Like in most of the other games, some players played well in some spots, but like in most other games the C’s were out-rebounded (39-37) and out-scored in the paint (44-40). Both of those numbers inched a lot closer late in the game though.
The Celtics now have two games remaining on their preseason schedule before the games really count. They were playing without Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, and they will likely be without rookie PG Phil Pressey who sprained his ankle. Landing on the foot of his defender, Pressey could barely limp off the floor. Brooks led the Celtics with 17 points in just 20 minutes, the majority coming in the fourth quarter. He was also called for a travel, two carries and passed the ball to the Raptors front row. Both Sullinger (except for the comical final play) and Kelly Olynyk were solid again. Jeff Green had a couple of nice plays, but Chris Babb who played 20 fewer minutes, had more rebounds. The massive work in progress continues, but not until Sunday night when the C’s play the Timberwolves in Montreal. Ahh preseason.
- Jeff Green had another nice dunk, as well as a surprising and strong drive with his left, finishing with a lefty lay-up
- During one ATO play in the second quarter, Stevens drew up a nice alley-oop play that was executed well by Courtney Lee to Green
- Vitor Faverani also continued to play well in spots, but like Sullinger and Olynyk, tends to foul too much
- Amazingly, this was probably their best overall game considering it came against a team playing their full complement of players
- The C’s continued to force their opponent into a lot of turnovers as the Raptors finished with 21
- Transition defense remains a massive issue with this team as Toronto had several spurts of lay-up drills
- Same goes for the rebounding which yes, size is an issue, but the basic rebounding rules are not being followed and those can be corrected
- The FG% was brutal again, this time at a clip of 41%
- A lot of pick and rolls started off well, but ended with guys bobbling the ball or turning it over
- During the pregame, Tommy Heinsohn implied that Brooks and Lee were battling it out for the final guard spot (for meaningful minutes). As John pointed out to me on Twitter, neither are making a good case for themselves.
Jeff Green as usual:
The Grid (quick stats):
- Brooks led the team in scoring with 17 points (6-10 FG, 3-4 3FG) in 20 min, 13 coming in the fourth
- Kelly Olynyk had a solid game with 13 points (6-7 FG) and 9 rebounds, but fouled out
- Toronto had 27 points off turnovers a higher rate than the C’s, highlighting the poor transition D