Raptors' Rapid Recap - Boston Celtics 76 - Toronto Raptors 75



-The NBA 2011-12 season kicked off this afternoon at the Air Canada Center for the Toronto Raptors, as they took on the Boston Celtics in preseason action. Unfortunately the team started off this season, the way they ended the last, with a loss, as Boston squeaked out a 76 to 75 victory.

-However it wasn't for lack of effort. A missed jumper and an Andrea Bargnani put-back that wouldn't fall was the difference in this one between a Raptors' win and loss. And considering the Raptors' showed some very positive signs regarding a new defensive identity, holding the C's to under 40 per cent from the field, this was a pretty solid first match for the Dinos. The emphasis on D was apparent throughout and even Andrea Bargnani got in on the action.

-Speaking of Bargnani, his 4 of 14 shooting performance on the afternoon was all too familiar however the rest of his game, was not. He got to the line seven times, (Toronto as a whole only had 13 foul shots on the afternoon), hauled down 8 rebounds, and looked much better defensively on rotations and getting out on his man. It's one game, but I think Raptors' boosters would be pretty happy if they could get a performance like this from Bargs on a regular basis

-And Andrea wasn't the only one chucking up bricks for the Raps. The team as a whole hit only 38 per cent from the field, and Jerryd Bayless, Ed Davis and DeMar DeRozan were the only other players who scored in double figures. Davis and Amir Johnson though stood out at both ends and it will be interesting to see how Dwane Casey uses then this season. Bayless and Jose Calderon nearly split minutes in this one (24 and 21 respectively) and both had some nice plays in addition to questionable decisions, especially in regard to passing. The Raps in fact had 21 turnovers however with this being the first game of the season technically, we probably shouldn't be surprised.

-Boston was led by usual suspects such as Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett but Marquis Daniels also chipped in some big baskets in Paul Pierce's absence. And Doc Rivers made sure his youngsters got lots of run, leaving players like E'Twaun Moore and Greg Stiesma in to finish this one off.

-Toronto now has a few days to brush up on their offensive execution, something that definitely needs a boost based on the game's final play. The Raptors' last shot-attempt while down one with seconds left, failed to result in much of a good look, even though DeMar DeRozan did get in a desperation heave, and as mentioned, Andrea Bargnani had a put-back attempt as well.

-When the buzzer sounded it marked an 0 and 1 preseason record for Toronto, but it was a refreshing effort on D, and hey...it was good to finally get to see some Raptors' basketball wasn't it?

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