On one hand, the Boston Celtics, still trying to work new acquisitions like Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger into their system, showed signs that given time, and the return of Avery Bradley, they could be one of the top teams in the East.
The Toronto Raptors on the other, minus Kyle Lowry and consistent top-notch offensive performances by the likes of Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan, don't have a hope in hell.
The Celtics used a 30 point first quarter to propel themselves to a 107 - 89 victory, never really looking back despite the Raptors closing the gap to five at the half. The Raps bench brought some much needed energy and hustle allowing the club to climb back into the match, but the impact was short-lived. As the third quarter began to unfold, the same issues that plagued the team in the first quarter re-appeared, and Boston kept the pedal to the metal through to the end.
As a Raptors' fan, this one was pretty frustrating to take. The team's offence essentially amounted to constantly trying to create something from nothing with the shot-clock winding down, whereas the Celtics ran a much more cohesive attack, finding players in their sweet spots for much easier looks. This disparity could be seen in the box score post-game as the Celts hit 57 per cent of their shots as opposed to the Raps 43.
Again Andrea Bargnani gave about a quarter of decent play, finishing with 15 points on some exquisite 5 of 14 shooting, and finishing a beautiful minus 22 on the afternoon. DeRozan wasn't much better, with 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting, and really, it was guys like John Lucas (15 points) and Ed Davis (7 points and 9 rebounds) who kept this from being a complete blow-out.
The Celtics got production across the board as even their newcomers like Sullinger, Terry and Barbosa had major impacts on the win.
Toronto now turns around, heading back to the ACC tomorrow to take on the Magic, a match that based on today's effort, looks like another certain L.