The Celtics brought the 'Home Show' on the road to Hartford, CT for an exhibition game against the new look Toronto Raptors.
In a meaningless game in terms of score, the Celtics remedied a 20 point first half by Chris Bosh by saddling him with a one point second half.
He started off the game, got aggressive. He got calls early. I think… as the game went on the refs started letting us play physical, you know they’re a finesse team. They’re not a physical team. You can’t be somebody you’re not. So I think the refs just started letting us play a little bit more.
Paul Pierce with 17 points and Kevin Garnett who followed with 16, led a balanced Celtic scoring attack, while Ray Allen couldn’t get untracked with his former college coach watching him from courtside for the event. Maybe Jim Calhoun can still do that to a former player. Ray was way off for much of the night and finished 1 for 7 for 8 points. He did add 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Garnett had two alley oop dunks, one from Rondo and one from Perkins and he drained his 17 foot jumper a few times as well. He looked good out there, in spite of being kneed in the calf during the contest. He is just such an intense dude. It's amazing how he impacts a game, just with his attitude.
Rajon Rondo had a challenging first half shooting, ending up with but 6 points in the game, but added 8 assists and 4 steals. Rondo does look cut in the locker room. Now I know what KG means when he say, "Rondo's razor sharp."
We saw solid performances from Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins (after settling down defensively against Bosh), Eddie House, Rajon Rondo, Shelden Williams, and Lester Hudson. Bosh did do quite well against Perkins and the Cs defense in the first half.
I'll have more stuff up later, but I'll tell you now that Bosh has gained about 20 pounds of muscle this past summer. I guess he's tired of getting pushed around in the middle.
While it was only an exhibition game, I think it exhibited something of a peek at the season for the Raptors. Rebounding challenges, little physical play, effective perimeter game, and chemistry lessons in progress are what the Raptors are about.
Everybody’s focused just for the simple fact that time is short.
We have seven practices, that’s it, before the first game, and we’ve got a checklist and we’ve still got a lot of stuff to do. We’ve got to use these games. They’re not games for us. They’re serious practices against an opponent.
The Toronto Raptors will be a very skilled basketball team this season. But they have not been ‘blue collar’ tough in a while. The Jermaine O’Neal Experiment proved to be ill advised. They have gone in an entirely different direction with the acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu. Quicker tempo and ball movement will prevail.
The game got physical. It got too physical for them, and I don’t think they can keep up.
Especially when Reggie Evans went out (with a twisted ankle). He’s the only Raptor who plays that way.
Ahhh, he’s a problem. Yeah, he is a problem. (laughing)
But that is the only physical player on a team that may be talented enough to challenge for a playoff spot, yet could fail for the reasons mentioned.
Shelden Williams settled down and had 6 first half points on 3 of 4 shooting after starting with a forced miss.
Paul Pierce looked sharp enough and had 12 of his 17 in the first half when Ray Allen and Eddie House couldn’t find the range on their heat seekers. They were a combined 1 for 11 from the field in the first half. Eddie did find the range in the second half and finished with 11 points.
Glen Davis filled in with 10 first half points and 13 in 20 minutes of play. His baskets included two or three directly over Raptor 7 footer centers, Andrea Bargnani, and Rasho Nesterovic and a few in traffic underneath. Impressive offense around the hoop and among the giants.
Marquis Daniels shot an ‘ofer’ (six) and had a rebound and two assists.
But Lester Hudson showed off his scoring prowess with 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting in 13 minutes, while adding 2 assists and 2 steals.
So the starters and subs all contributed to a solid win over a team that is working things out. The Celtic starters looked fairly good in this game, but you can tell they need more time on the court to fine tune things.
They only gave up 90 points, and that is very good by any standard.
Rasheed Wallace rested his sprained ankle, and did not play. Doc said he could play. He just rested him, coach's decision.
After Bosh’s 21 points, no Raptor had more than 12, but draft choice DeMar DeRozan and NBA sophomore Sonny Weems look like nice jumping jack additions. Turkoglu hit two straight fadeaways over an actively defending Paul Pierce.
Though they gave up just 90 points, Doc remarked….
We’ve just got to shore up our defense. I think we can be, not just a good defensive team, a great defensive team. And if we win, it will be because of that.
Like the Raptors, they too, must be who they are.