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Tip In: Raps Close One Out

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It's not that the Raps have been playing bad ball as of late. They just seem to go Sprewell in the fourth, and choke. Finally on Sunday evening the Raps got the monkey off their back, snapped their losing skid and managed to get a W at the ACC. The final score 111-105. Yes, all Raps fans in attendance managed to get their free pizza.

It was not a pretty game by any stretch. There were definitely some entertaining moments, but there was just no flow. It was not that the teams were not executing, and in fact both shot over 50% from the floor. There were just so many fouls called (55 in total) that you never went through 1 minute without a stoppage in play. In a 48 minute game to have 55 fouls? The crew of referees were attached to those whistles like white on rice. Its tough to have a good NBA game when there's no real chance for either team to go on a run. It's too bad because Dick Bavetta is a great ref, interacts with the fans and loves his job. He's like an older version of the Swirsk! For an old guy he is in mad shape, and there is no-one in the league who makes a better charge call.

In many ways I am shocked that the Celts have three more wins than the Raps. Without the Truth, this team would be scary bad. Paul Pierce was again an unbelievable force on the court. His ability to get to the hoop, take a hit and managed to make the hoop is something to see. Boston would be mental to trade him. That being said they did trade for Olowakandi (DNP-CD) and sign Brian Scalabrine to that $15 contract. So who knows.

Since I'm on the topic of the Celts big men, is it just me or should Al Jefferson be starting? It's nights like tonight when you see what sort of post threat he could be. On a couple of occassion he just backed Bosh down and when straight to the tin. He could be a beast. Someone should also tell Doc Rivers that under no circumstances should Brian Scalabrine see the floor again. If you look at the box score tonight it tells the whole story. Almost 12 minutes, 3 points, and a whole bunch of goose eggs. Oh and those three points came with 6.4 seconds left to go in the game. I am pretty sure that gives him a PER equal to...well his twin brother could put up better numbers.

From the Raps side of things it again was the starters who had to hold down the fort. Although Bonner managed to step up and have one of his better shooting days (yes, I will give props even though I gave him a D in the report card) there again was very little bench support. Joey managed three points but did not seem to recognize a few of the sets and Mitchell pulled him a few times, and Calderon looked uncomfortable under the Boston press. Pape Sow managed 23 seconds of PT. Spiderman is really having a tough time getting off the bench even with AD hurt. Our readers know we are big Pape Sow supporters, but this camp is definitely having second thoughts about backing this guy's bid to become a full time NBA player.

Today's game was the second of a back-to-back. The first was obviously the loss in NJ. The Celts game starts at 6, an hour earlier than usual. So ask yourself....if you were a player who was still looking to establish himself in the NBA and proove that you belonged, and knew that your next match-up was against a Boston team with a weak front-court.....would you be out partying at Devil's Martini the night before until 2 AM? Sorry Pape, hate to call you on this, but is this the level of committment you have to your career? You are more concerned about flying solo at the clubs rather than getting some rest and a good meal? Man that approach is going to get you nothing but full time employment in the D-League. That is WEAK.

Hopefully, the Raps can build off this win. They need to beat teams in the Atlantic. No, not for the playoffs, but simply to build confidence. The big difference between today and the past few games is that this was a game the Raps should have won. It's one thing to fold against Dallas, it's another to fold against the Celts.

Quick Hits:

- If you're Matt Bonner and you are matched up against Scalabrine, and look at tonight's box score, how are you not mad that he makes WAY MORE money that you?

- Bosh had a quiet 24. The Celts actually played pretty good D on him but Bosh managed to deal fairly well with the double teams and doled out 5 assists. In fact Bosh was a fantasy monster tonight, filling all categories.

- Calderon is really hesitant to shoot these days. Hopefully during the off-season he manages to find some serious time to work on knocking down shots on a regular basis. With the World Championships coming up, though, he may be pressed for time.

- Wally really looks like he wants to be a leader of the Celts. He was talking out there full time and trying to get his guys to pick it up.

- Mo P was actually having some plays run for him tonight. His mid-range game was excellent and the battle between him and Paul Pierce was FANtastic.

- Any one else notice Raef's eye? Looks like it touched Delonte West's cold sore.

- Delonte West....easily his worst game of the year. He was about as memorable as this game....and we out.

HOWLAND