Andrea Bargnani returned, Rudy Gay had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Kyle Lowry played his best game in weeks and yet the result was the same for the Toronto Raptors, 99 to 95 losers tonight to the Boston Celtics. Despite being ahead on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter, the C's went on a 13 to 4 run with about six minutes left, doing Toronto in for good, and likely shattering any playoff dreams once and for all.
The Dinos started the match seven and a half games back of the Celtics for the East's final playoff spot and the loss makes what was already a tall enough mountain to climb, that much taller.
We Can Blame This Loss On...
...again, playing a more experienced team for starters, as it was evident tonight the club was still trying to figure out "who should be where" at both ends of the court.
However the club's offensive decision-making at times was spotty, Toronto's wings despite putting up points, were very inefficient (Gay, Anderson and DeRozan were 15 of 47 (32 per cent), the team again had key turnovers at inopportune times (and 15 in total) and had major defensive issues in the second and fourth quarters (outscored 60 to 38.)
Rudy Gay gets the limelight for his 25 and 12 dub-dub and Amir Johnson was solid again with 16 and 12, but the MVP of this one goes to Kyle Lowry.
Lowry made a few suspect passes and decisions down the stretch but finished with 17 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals, and was the sole reason Toronto stayed in the game. Lowry's energy at both ends was infectious and it was during his play that the team held a lead on the scoreboard.
Alan Anderson again looks like an easy target for putting up 5 points on 2 of 7 shooting in 22 minutes. But he's supposed to be a fringe guy putting up lines similar to this.
DeMar DeRozan is not, and needs to hit more than 5 of 16 shots. Not only that, but getting to the line more than five times would be solid as well and in general, tonight DD was just far too invisible.
Comment of the game:
Unfortunately through three games, yes indeed.
Matt and Jack Classics:
Matt and Leo tonight so it was more painful than usual. My personal fave was Leo repeatedly talking about Bargnani being a "High IQ player" and some random sequence where the two re-enacted their reactions to a Terrence Ross shot block.
Ok that's it for now, but as always, hit up the opposing team's blog, in this case, Jeff Clark and the fine folks at Celticsblog, for their side of the story.
We'll have a full breakdown and further thoughts on this one in the AM as usual.