Well I am getting older and slept in so I didn't get a chance to write a preview. But the most important news may have not been in it anyway. There was a suggestion on Raptors T.V that not only might J.O play today but he may actually be in the starting line-up? He is listed as day to day with a strained knee and I don't think anyone was expecting that. It would be a nice birthday present for me and a relief for all Raptor Fans. That being said I will wait till the tip before I actually believe it. The Celtics were the last team prior to the Nets to break the hearts of Raptor fans. Much like the New Jersey game the Raptors built a big lead and watched it slip away. Paul Pierce was in the role of Vince Carter and the result was the same. Raptors T.V is confirming that Jermaine O'Neal is going to be in the starting line-up. Suddenly this game becomes a lot more interesting as a result. So I am excited about this game. I was not looking forward to watching the Raps without J.O try and match-up with Boston but now there is reason to hope. Need to keep an eye on how J.O looks early in this game but this is great news that was totally unexpected for Toronto.
So here we go Celtics and Raptors get set to go at it for Round 2 of their season series. Bosh would take the tip and and they went right to O'Neal but he missed a fading attempt. Both teams were off to a slow start as this was a very early 12:30 tip due to the Grey Cup here in Canada. Ray Allen would open the scoring almost minutes in with a 3-pointer. A steal and score for Rajon Rondo and the Celtics were off to a fast lead. Paul Pierce had a 3-pointer as well and the Raptors were 0-5 from field and Cetlics were going off. Kendrick Perkins had a basket and the Raptors had spotted the World Champs a 10-0 lead. Sam Mitchell was forced into a time out early in the first quarter to try to find some answers.
Calderon would miss a jumper out of the time-out and the Raptors were 0-6. Finally Andrea Bargnani would make his way to the free throw line to get the Raptors on the board. He made both from the line with 7:55 to play in the first quarter. Kendrick Perkins would respond on the other end going at a less than 100% Jermaine O'Neal. Kevin Garnett would score on the next trip down the floor. Chris Bosh would finally score from the field for the Raptors. Calderon would score on the next chance and it was 14-6 Boston early. Ray Allen would add 3 to that total and it was not going well. Rajon Rondo drove to the basket and scored and the Celtic lead was 13 and growing. Rajon Rondo would drive and score again and this game was looking like a massacre.
A Bosh block on defense as he was looking to fire up his team and try to stop this wave of the Celtics crashing down on the Raptors. Every point the Raptors were getting was a struggle as a Jose Calderon jumper needed a kind bounce to get in the basket. The Raptors only had 8 points and they were down 22-8. Calderon made another jumper this time straight through. Jose was getting taken to school on the other end by Rajon Rondo who was having a great start to this one. Jermaine O'Neal would get a basket as he was fighting through injury. That lead to Andrea Bargnani getting a 3 pointer on the next trip. But right after that he would pick up foul number three and we were still in the first quarter. Just when Raptors had built a small amount of momentum that would be like a wet blanket to it. The Celtics defense was like a blanket as well as the Raptors tried to get it in to Bosh and it was taken away by Kevin Garnett. He would turn that into points out of the extra possession for the Raptors. He would later hit a 3 pointer of an offensive rebound for the Celtics. The first quarter was over and the Celtics were not taking the Raptors lightly up 32-20 after a quarter of play.
This seems like a massive task for the Raptors on this day. The Raptors had 6 turnovers and the Celtics were shooting 57% for the Celtics. Both bad signs for the Raptors. Jermaine O'Neal was on the bench after playing the entire first quarter. Raptors had a couple of scores with K.G taking a break along with the rest of Celtic starters. Roko Ukic would come in to relief Jose Calderon which speaks to Will Solomon's play of late. Kris Humphries was in the game and adding some energy. He had a basket and he had another drive and went to the line. Jermaine O'Neal had a quick break and checked back in for Bosh. But it was the Hump show at the moment he 6 points in just 3 minutes on the floor. The Raptors had climbed back against the Boston reserves down just 36-30.
Jermaine O'Neal had a jumper and the lead was down just to 4 points. But just after that J.O would tumble to floor and it looked like he gave all that he could. We may not see any more from Jermaine today we will have to wait and see. The Celtics meanwhile had the some of starters back and built back the lead to 41-32. The crowd was lit up at the fact that K.G was not called for a foul on Chris Bosh. I can't say I blame them after watching the replay. The Celtics were back and rolling with the starters, Ray Allen made a jumper for 2 and then he made a 3 point and the Celtic lead that had been cut to 4 was back to 13 points at 48-35. Tony Allen would add to that with a basket plus a foul. On top of that the Raptors were 1-8 on their last 8 chances to score. It was all leading to the largest lead of the day for the Celtics at 18 points with the score 53-35 and still three and a half minutes to play. Anthony Parker would make a much needed 3 pointer. But Eddie House answered that right away with a 3-ball for him.
Kevin Garnett scored over Bosh and the Celtics were in firm control late in the first half. Bosh was able to respond with a score on the other end. The Raptors were able to create a turnover and Jose Calderon would find Jamario Moon for an alley opp. But the Raptors would need much more of this if they had any hope of winning on this day. The Raps continued to chip away and Paul Pierce would get a technical foul late in the half. Jamario Moon was at the line and after Jose made the tech Moon would make both. Anothny Parker was just a fraction late of cutting the lead to single digits. But the Raptors should feel very fortunate to be down just 10 points at the half.
So the Celtics made some uncharacteristic turnovers and let the Raptors get with in range of a comeback. Word from Sam Mitchell that we have seen the last of Jermaine O'Neal for the day in his halftime interview. Paul Pierce had a quiet first half started the second on the right foot. The Celtics started on a 5-0 run and the Raptors were right back in trouble again. Sam Mitchell would call a time out to state what was pretty obvious. Jamario Moon made a steal and was fouled and heading to the line but he was 1-2 from the line. Ray Allen gets 3 for the Raptors 1 point from Moon. Chris Bosh would find a way to score which had been not an easy task for him today.
The Celtic lead had climbed back up to 19 with the score 71-52. This game was showing just how good the Celtics defense was. It also showed how far from being an elite level team the Raptors were. Rajon Rondo would blow by Jose Calderon for yet another time and score. Chris Bosh was still fighting as he was fouled and headed to the line making both. But it was really like shoot a sling shot at a guy with a machine gun. The Celtics were scoring far to easily and ever Raptor point was a struggle to get. That was the difference in this game. Midway through the 3rd quarter it was 79-60 and if there was a way to just hit fast forward and end this I think Raptor fans would welcome that.
A rare defensive stop by Jose Calderon as he caused Rajon Rondo to travel. But that was a small victory in a sports war that the Raptors were getting just hammered in. The lead had climbed to 21 points and Chris Bosh was showing his frustration as his Raptors were down 83-62. The crowd was upset as well booing the Raptors who had not shown much fight at all. Sam Mitchell was again with out answers and he really needed to start finding some if he wanted to remain the man calling the shots for the Raptors. The shots or plays he was calling were not working at all. The defense that Sam always says is the focus was non-existent.
Kendrick Perkins got a easy jam and he was talking smack and got a technical foul. Basically the only things the Raptors were getting was based on what Boston was giving them. Bosh was getting hammered at every point he touched the ball. The Raptors were not looking to him enough. Brain Scalabrine made a 3 pointer and it really just summed up what an awful day it was for the Raptors. The score was 92-69 and we were in the 3rd quarter. Chris Bosh would make a 3 pointer but just like everything the Celtics had an answer as Eddie House answered with a 3 pointer for them. The Celtics were 10-14 from behind the arc to this point. The Celtics lead was 95-73 after 3 quarters of play.
Andrea Bargnani opened the 4th quater with a 3-pointer and Roko Ukic would score of a steal and got the basket and a foul shot. But it was likely far to late. But Roko Ukic had another steal and the Raptors started the quarter on an 8-0 run. But the Celtics Glen "Big Baby" Davis had a basket plus a foul. The Raptors were playing both Ukic and Calderon together which they had started doing near the end of the third. But no gimmick type line-up was going to be able to erase all the damage that had been done. The Celtics after the Raptors little charge got back on track and the lead was 102-83.
Chris Bosh was still in this game and it was rapidly becoming a question of why? Calderon is banged up and O'Neal was as well. What was being proved by having Chris in the game at this point? That is a question for Sam Mitchell. It is only one of many he would be asked. Anthony Parker made a couple of 3 pointers but this was a case of far to late for the Raptors as they still trailed 109-91.
On a day with almost no bright spots. Roko Ukic was getting time on the floor and was one of few Raptors who was showing some good things. That will help in his development and is likely the only positive you can pull out of this game from a Raptor perspective. He had 7 points, 4 assists, 2 steals and 4 turnovers in almost 14 minutes to this point. There was still over 5 minutes of time to learn for Roko. For everyone else it was 5:23 of pain to endure. Bosh was finally taken out of this game and that should have happened a lot sooner. Graham and Adams were in the game which was a clear sign that even Sam Mitchell had the understanding it was garbage time. The dejection on Chris Bosh's face jumped off your T.V screen. The Raptors were taking advantage of the garbage time to make the final score look much different from what it really deserved to be. A Joey Graham bucket made the score 115-103. The Raptors had a lot of soul searching to do over the next few days as they do not play again till Wednesday against the Bobcats. They will still be in search of their first win of this home stand. The Celtics during the time out were trading tips about golfing as the need to talk about basketball was long gone. While on the Raptor bench there was a lot of blank stares. The final score for the record was 118-103.
If you want to put yourself through the pain I will provide you with the boxscore. No need to do a summary as I think much of it was said in the 4th quarter. I have a rest of a birthday to try to enjoy and hopefully that will wipe away a lot of the last few hours for me. In your case as readers I suggest you go find a good Grey Cup Party and try to forget basketball for a few hours.