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Young Guns Lead The Way As Raps Topple Celtics

Joey Graham had 20 points and Charlie Villanueva pitched in 13 as the Raptors won their second straight pre-season game, 93-83, over the visiting Boston Celtics.

Morris Peterson led all scorers with 21 points on 7-12 shooting, a much-needed improvement after shooting 5-29 to start the pre-season.

Raef LaFrentz led the Celtics with 17.

Chapman's Game Thoughts (from fourth row Platinums)

- Joey Graham had an impressive game. Despite the fact that he had only two rebounds in 34 minutes of play, he put up 20 points in a number of different ways. More importantly, he played some solid defense on Paul Pierce. While it is only one pre-season game, Graham's performance Friday night is hopefully a harbinger of things to come.

- Charlie Villanueva also impressed. While it wasn't quite the 24-point performance that he put up Wednesday against the Nets, it was a solid game nonetheless. What impressed me about CV Smooth was his court sense and his passing ability. He had a few nice dishes and seemed to be able to find the open man in ball rotation. He also displayed a nice touch around the hoop.

- We were disappointed that Sam Mitchell didn't play Bosh and Charlie V together. That seems like it would be a duo that would pose fits for opposing coaches. Maybe it's Mitchell's "secret" plan for the regular season. Hopefully, it works out better than Tim Thomas' secret cell phone...

- Loren Woods impressed no one with his nine points and seven rebounds. Particularly galling was his 1-3 effort on dunks, including two airballs.

- Jose Calderon's line was not the prettiest (2-9 from the floor), but I came away impressed with his ability to run the team. Could he start the opener?

- Two stats that stood out from the game: Boston getting only six offensive rebounds and only getting to the line 14 times. These were two major areas of concern over the first four pre-season games and the Raps had good nights in both areas.

- I like Jalen Rose, but I am concerned with how the offense stagnates when he is in the game. He doesn't seem to pass to the younger players at all...well...he just doesn't seem to pass at all. There is a distinct lack of movement on offense when Rose is in the game that is not evident when he is on the bench. While a Rose deal would leave this team with a dearth of scorers, it just might make the offense that much more efficient. Think Portland would move Theo Ratliff for Jalen?

- It appears that Rose has also taken over for Vince Carter in terms of team leader in whining to the referees. It seems that every missed shot is immediately followed by pleads for a whistle. Rose was beat down the court a number of times and that gave the Celtics a few easy buckets.

- It was good to see Alvin Williams get into the game in the second quarter. "Boogie" received another well-deserved ovation. Too bad that 3-ball at the halftime buzzer didn't go down.

- Paul Pierce was a vocal critic of the NBA's new dress code. When at the line in the first quarter, Howland yelled out "Dress Code!" and was answered with a icy stare.

- If you missed the game and just caught the boxscore, you'd think that Mark Blount had a monster game. Eleven points (on 5-6 shooting) and six rebounds. However, you'd be wrong. How this guy makes over $6 million a year is beyond me. He has no hands, not much court sense and doesn't seem to have a clue what he's doing on the floor. I guess that just shows how weak the Raptors are at the center position.

- Paging Dan Dickau....

- Speaking of Dickau, props to the Celtics fan at the game last night who created his own Dan Dickau jersey using masking tape and a Sharpie.

- Is it just me or has the Raptors in-game entertainment really that bad these days?

- Why couldn't the Raptors sign Randy Holcomb?