Okay, itís great for the Raptors
to get a win, a divisional win, a win against the Celtics, but letís not get too excited about this one. There were a lot of good things tonight and a lot of bad things, but we finally saw a bit of guts from the Raptors, hanging around long enough to win.
When you shoot 71.4% from 3-point range and 100% from the line, you should pretty much win almost every game you play. I say that, because if you are scoring at that kind of a clip, youíre picking up the extra point on the 3s and you are also picking up points with the clock stopped. That leaves the rest of your old-school game to generate points and even if you have a mediocre night, you should still be scoring at least 90 points. The thing I liked about the 3s that were raining down in Boston was that the Raptors
werenít throwing them up as desperation 3s and most of them came on very good looks. Credit that to some good ball movement, including about 4 no-look perimeter passes I saw from Bargs
(canít call him Baryogi tonight, he stayed out of foul trouble). When you get the ball moving that quickly around the perimeter, you are going to get some good looks and at worst, you are going to have a defender on that last pass running out to try to cover the three, whereupon you can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. The Raptors
did both tonight and it paid off.
Speaking of Bargnani, tonightís game was what I was talking about in the preview. When Andrea is able to get that shot going, he creates room for Bosh
and spreads the floor a bit more, creating more opportunities for his teammates. The shot didnít look completely smooth, he did rattle a lot of those shots home, but I like that he actually looked confident tonight, with no hesitation, but at the same time, he wasnít rushing or forcing shots. He also remarkably showed up on the boards, picking up 7 (although letís be honest, a lot of those were with nobody aroundÖbut hey, Iíll give him some cred). The truth about the Raptors
is that when Andrea plays well, he makes them that much more of a dangerous team. Letís not discount his role in last yearís success. Letís hope that he is starting to learn to adjust to the different defences teams are throwing at him and that he is learning as much about them as they did about him. The NBA is all about making adjustments.
Since AP has found his game again, the Raptors
have looked that much more threatening. When AP gets that shot going from the corner, he owns it. He will shoot it open, with a hand in his face, he doesnít care. That corner is more automatic that MoPete back in the day when he used to get cooking from his corner office. You could see down the stretch that the Celtics just couldnít get out on him fast enough and he took every opportunity that was presented.
So in the preview, I was talking about how if the Raptors
could just hang around long enough, I thought they would be able to outlast the Celtics, because outside of Garnett, I donít think they are very well conditioned. Did you see Perkins sucking flies in the 4th quarter? That guy looked like he just came in from the Boston Marathon and decided to put on a Celtics jersey. Yikes. Being in good shape and being ready to play is more important than it gets credit for. You can be the most skilled athlete in the league, but if your legs are tired in the 4th quarter, it isnít going to matter. The Wiz counted on star players and being in better shape than the Celtics, could it be that the Raptors
So on to the follies. Which I have to say is the home cookiní that is going on at the TD Banknorth Garden. There was some very suspicious refereeing going on tonight. I am seriously not one to ever bring up the refs, but does Garnett have to bring out a paddle to get a foul called on him? I also saw a lot of slapping going on that wasnít called. Iím all for letting the guys play, for letting the players decide things on the court and I donít even mind the odd home call every once in a while, because thatís part of the home court advantage. Also, was it just me or were those some noisy rims? Was it the positioning of the mic at the Garden? Cuz those guys sounded like they were playing at The Humberview School (if you ever played a game there back in the early 90s, youíll know what Iím talking aboutÖI think some dude made those things in his backyard or in shop class).
Additional follies? Turnovers. 18 turnovers. Thatís not good basketball. When you play good teams, hell, when you play any team, that is a recipe for disaster. If you donít have a great night shooting from outside, those turnovers turn into unanswered points the other way. The Raptors
have to count themselves lucky tonight, because while they got the win, those turnovers could have killed them.
So while the Raptors
came out of this with a win, the whole thing will be wasted if they are not able to follow this win up with another. As good as wins over big teams are, a big win followed by a poor loss is the exact oppositeÖand maybe even worse. As AP so eloquently stated in his post game interview, the Raptors
are capable of beating any team on any night, but they are also capable of losing to any team on any night and they have shown that more than enough times.
As a final note, you have to love Jose attacking the basket with the clock running down, sinking the layup +1. Did that remind you of another PG the Raptors
are missing right now? Thatís what playing tough in the final seconds is about. Donít settle for that jumper, get in there and get dirty.