If you’re looking for things that make everyone sorta happy, then games like tonight will do it: Big game from your star, solid games from young role players, good performance from a key part of the future, and a hard-fought loss that doesn’t hurt your lottery standings. Everyone kinda wins… except for the Celtics. They lost.
Rajon Rondo single-handedly kept the Celtics in the game in the face of a DeMar DeRozan/Jonas Valanciunas onslaught (20 combined first quarter points. The first non-Rondo-influenced basket didn’t come until 1:36 in the 1st quarter. Until then, Rondo had scored 2 baskets and assisted on 6 others to account for all eight baskets. The only other two Celtics baskets of the quarter were from Jeff Green.
Chris Johnson was the story of the second quarter. His 7 points led the team in the quarter, and his signature hustle led to even more positive result. A hard run to fill the lane early in the quarter allowed Rondo to get to the rim for a lay up by giving him a legitimate passing option and keeping the defense guessing. He outran a defender for an easy basket. And he had a huge chase-down block late in the quarter. I think this kid is a keeper.
The third quarter opened with the Terrence Ross burying back-to-back 3’s and some messy Celtics play that let the Raptors grow their lead to 15. The big story of the third, though was Rondo getting popped (accidentally) by a Greivis Vasquez elbow and needing to leave to get 9 stitches on his forehead.
The fourth quarter belonged to Jared Sullinger. He single-handedly shot the Celtics back into the game with three-3 pointers in about a minute and a half to cut the lead down to 4. It got down to three with 1:49 left but the sloppy Celtics fell apart and never scored after that. Lowry and Ross each hit 3’s, and the Raptors walked away with a 99-90 win.
Let’s start with the obvious: Rajon Rondo, who had 10 assists within the first 15 minutes of the game. He finished with 15 and was robbed of a chance to cross 20 by the elbow.
Chris Johnson is the type of guy you need on good teams. I don’t even care what his stats are. All I care about is that he’s on the floor busting his ass. As a coach, you want to have a guy out there that you can point to as an example of hard work when your team is slacking.
The Celtics bench as a whole has been doing well lately. Kelly Olynyk’s rebounding seems to be improving daily. Pressey continues to prove he deserves to be on a roster, despite his size and being undrafted. Bayless’ stat line wasn’t glossy, but he had a positive impact in his 15 minutes.
The crunch-time execution remains terrible. The last 1:49 was borderline comedic.
The Celtics starters scored 8 second half points. EIGHT. The bench scored 36. I find this unacceptable.
The most misleading stat of the game is: Second chance points: Toronto 14, Boston 7. The Celtics gave the Raptors second chances all night (and some third, and fourth chances). They weren’t all off rebounds, so they didn’t get rolled into this stat, but between defensive lapses, missed chances at stops or turnovers, and silly mistakes, the Raptors had a lot more than 14 points off second opportunities to score in possessions.
No embeddable video available yet. Go here for some first half highlights.
- Points in the Paint: Raptors 40, Celtics 28
- Brandon Bass: 4 points (2-3 fg), 5 rebounds
- Kris Humphries: 4 points (1-6 fg), 4 rebounds
- Jeff Green: 6 points (3-9 fg), 2 rebounds.
- Celtics combined starting frontcourt: 14 points (6-18 fg), 11 rebounds.
- Jonas Valanciunas: 15 points (7-12 fg), 14 rebounds.
I’ll stop there. I think you get the point. If you really want more, you can go to the box score.
According to tankathon.com, the Celtics have the 4th worst record in the league.
Bet that makes you feel happy, right? Well, I went ahead and hit “sim lottery” just for shits and giggles.
This is what I got:
Yeah. This is a possible result. How’s that stickin’ in your craw?