I missed this one live, and after watching the replay earlier this morning, was glad.
It was another ugly affair, one the Toronto Raptors lost 112 - 88 to the Boston Celtics, who've had the club's number for some time now. The win was Boston's tenth straight versus the Dinos, who came unglued in the third quarter and were suddenly down double digits after actually making it a close game for a while.
The ball movement stopped, the chucking began, and the Raps turned to whining about calls instead of attacking the rim.
"We get it guys, the refs haven't called anything in your favour al year."
Casey went so far as to say just that post-game actually, so one wonders if he'll again be hearing from the league office.
However the refs didn't cost Toronto this game.
Sure, there were some suspect calls as usual, but if you re-watch the affair, the real difference-maker was the way these two clubs handled the adversity.
After a 9 - 0 Raptors run that got them within striking distance of the C's, Boston began putting the ball on the floor, attacking the hoop, and looking to create space for their long-range shooters.
Toronto, preferred to heave up low-percentage shots, ones that the Celtics used to head in the other direction, gaining the advantage on TO's porous defence. Coach Casey wanted his troops to push the tempo and attack from the wings but it was the C's who had the 20 to 11 fast-break points advantage when all was said and done.
In many ways it was the same old story for the Raps, who got 36 points from Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, but on some pretty ugly 12 of 32 shooting. The duo got to the line 12 times making all 12 attempts, helping their overall efficiency marks, but considering eight of Gay's points came basically in garbage time, it was hardly a match to stash away in his hope chest.
The Celtics not only grabbed win number 35 on the season, but also saw two of their players pass major NBA milestones; Kevin Garnett passing Jerry West for 15th on the NBA's all-time scoring list, and Paul Pierce edging past Charles Barkley for 20th. Garnett had 12 points and 7 boards in only 21 minutes, Pierce finishing with 11 and 6 himself in 27.
Up next for the Toronto Raptors is a match at home tomorrow night vs the Charlotte Bobcats.
Charlotte actually posted a surprise win over these same Celtics on Tuesday night, and I'm hoping the 'Cats can pull off another surprising win tomorrow evening. With a win over the Milwaukee Bucks last night, the Washington Wizards moves percentage points back of Phoenix, New Orleans, Detroit, Sacramento and Cleveland, all of whom have between 22 and 23 wins.
With only 25 wins themselves, I'm not ready to count Toronto out of keeping their pick, although they've admittedly got some losing to do.
As per Draft Express' current rankings they'd be giving up the 11th pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but with games looming against the Miami Heat and New York Knicks, here's hoping that by this time next week, the Dinos have gained a few spots in the "tanking rankings."