Today in Raptorland - 1/24/08
Old 01-24-2008, 10:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Today in Raptorland - 1/24/08

Raps beat the East's best

“You can’t play half-court, slug it out basketball every night,” the coach said. “You have to get easy baskets. It makes the game really physical … and it limits your possessions. If you’re getting 72 shots a game, that’s tough.

“You have to get some easy baskets every now and then.”

The only team that got out and ran for most of last night, however, was the Celtics, the team that supposedly thrives in the half-court game. They had a handful of run-out layups in the first half and it looked like they were going to take control of the game
Celtics too slow for Raptor Calderon's quick decisions

"We knew K.G. didn't want to leave C.B., so I saw him try and deny him the ball so I knew it was my opportunity to turn the corner, so I go all the way," said Calderon, who tied his career high with 24 points. "I saw Paul Pierce coming but to help, but he was inside the line, so I said it was my turn."

Once Mitchell sent his team back to the court after a timeout preceding Calderon's drive, he had something else in mind. But when he saw what the Celtics were doing, he changed his mind, told Calderon to take Rajon Rondo off a high screen and attack.

Big threes, T.O. style

"Half the guys in our league couldn't shoot 15 for 21 in a gym by themselves behind the three," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "And they did it with other people on the floor."
Instant revival? Not in Leafs' case

Babcock was relieved of his duties on Jan. 26, 2006. Interim general manager Wayne Embry immediately went to work clearing cap space for the runaround. Primarily, he convinced that sage of New York, Isiah Thomas, into believing he absolutely had to have the massively overpaid Jalen Rose but he also was able to move spare part Aaron Williams.

When Bryan Colangelo was hired about a month later, he had some cap space to work with. He also had a rising young star in Chris Bosh, a tradeable Charlie Villanueva and, a few months down the road, he got a bonus when the Raptors won the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery.

They went from the dregs to the playoffs in one year and now they have the makings of a perennial contender with a man, Colangelo, in place to see that it happens. All inside 24 months.
Colangelo runs show

"I have the autonomy to operate the basketball team. But I do report to the board (of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.) when it comes to a coaching change or when I contemplate a major player deal, so that they don't find themselves with major surprises. That's when I need the approval of the board. Richard (Peddie) is my conduit to the board and I keep him informed."

Raptors salvage some pride

"I just want him to keep going," Bosh said. "If he can get two good [games] in a row, he can really start to build on it and get his confidence back."

Raptors narrowly avoid Celtics sweep

Bargnani was the biggest reason for the closer game. He was a different player than the guy who had scored in single digits in each of the previous eight games. In fact, he recorded 10 points by the time the first quarter was over. He finished with 20 points.

While his offence was still coming from the outside, he was shooting the ball with far more confidence than the Raptors have seen in a while. With the fervor around his play at an all-time high, Bargnani responded with a good showing against the league's best team.

And to boot, he added a career-high seven assists, although he appeared to tire in the fourth quarter.

Celtics left seeing triple

"We just didn't defend the 3-point [shot]," Pierce said. "We talked about it [at halftime]. They are the No. 1 3-point-shooting team in the league and they got us in situations where they challenge you. Then they put four or five shooters on the court."

No defense for Celtics

“That was awful,” said Rivers. “The game was never a power game; the game was a finesse game. And we can win some of those games, but we can’t be a great team playing that way. And that’s why we lost the game.

“They moved the ball, but they had probably seven 3s that clearly we were there and just didn’t close out all the way. Late in the game we had one right in front of our bench. We just stopped and stared at the guy, and he shot it. It was almost like we didn’t believe they would shoot another one. We call them dare shots. We had a lot of dare shots tonight that we gave up, and they made them. But that’s what they do.
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