The Toronto Raptors suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics last night. The HQ's Scott Campsall has your recap of all the low lights, including the performance of Demar Derozan.
Last night's game was a matchup of two teams that had lost five consecutive games coming in; both teams were desperate for a win, but unfortunately for Raptor fans, only one team played like it-and it wasn't the Raptors.
The Boston Celtics put on a show for their home crowd, pounding the Toronto Raptors 96-73 and handing them their 6th consecutive loss.
The game itself was a tale of two halves for the Dino's. Despite some serious struggles in the first quarter, the Raptors started out the second quarter with a 9-2 run. The Raps' bench guys vastly outplayed the Celtics weak bench; Doc Rivers realized this and quickly reinserted his starters into the game. This move paid immediate dividends as the Celtics responded with a 5-0 run, but Toronto withstood the Celtics push, and fought back; closing the quarter strong, cutting down the first half deficit to just 6 points.
In the third the horror show began.
Simply put, the Celtics flat out beat the Dinos in the second half, and ultimately the game. The Raps lost every major statistical category; they got outrebounded 45-38. The free throw differential was again large-the Raptors attempted 20 free throws to the Celtics 32. The Celtics shot 48% from the floor and 37% from beyond the 3-point arc, whereas the Raptors shot a measly 35% from the floor and a dismal 27% from downtown.
The effort was not there offensively or defensively, and Toronto did not look like a team that had any interest in ending their 6 game losing streak. The Celtics wanted this game more, and it showed. Boston outhustled Toronto and beat them to the punch on what seemed like every single play in the second half.
There is no doubt that this team misses the presence of Andrea Bargnani, and the rigors of this condensed schedule are most certainly having an effect on the team, but the truth of the matter is that the Dinos appear to be coming back down to earth after an impressive start that had fans thinking that maybe this team was better than originally thought.
In a game like this, the Raptors need to have a player they can rally around, and lean on to get them going. With Bargnani out, that player should be DeMar DeRozan. Last night again though, the Raps looked his way, and he was nowhere to be found.
The 22 year old shooting guard showed definite promise last season, but has been the team's biggest disappointment this year. DeRozan's inability to step up in Bargnani's absence has fans as well as members of the media questioning his long term viability as the Raptors' starting shooting guard.
His performance in this contest did little to dispel that opinion. DeRozan had 10 points in a promising first half, a solid output, but when things got tough for the Raptors he folded; totaling just 1 point in the second half. DeMar shot just 4-16 which included a number of weak drives to the bucket, and some suspect shot selection. Handling the ball also proved to be an adventure for DeRozan-he turned the ball over a game high 5 times which lead to a number of run outs and momentum building plays for the C's.
Looking back on this one there weren't many highs for the Raptors. The play of Gary Forbes-18 points in 18 minutes-and the return of Aaron Gray, albeit in unmemorable fashion, would serve as minor positives in an overall disappointing effort for the Raps in this game.
The Dino's will get a day of rest tomorrow before heading back to Toronto to take on the Trail Blazers, one of the league's early season surprises. If the Raptors don't bring more of an effort against the Blazers I wouldn't expect much of a different outcome on Friday night.