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Tag:Paul Pierce
Posted on: January 13, 2009 12:45 pm
 

Raptors - Celtics - Back To Back reviewed

I think at this point in the week, I need to pause and do some reflection on the two games we just witnessed with the Celtics. The Celtics came into the game Sunday having lost 4 straight games to the Knicks, the Bobcats, the Rockets and the Cavaliers and were looking to turn around the play of the team to where it was when they were 27 – 2 and winners of 19 straight. The Raptors were coming off a week which saw them beat the Magic, the Wizards and the Grizzlies, but lose to the Bucks. Both teams were looking to show signs of life but are at very different points in their seasons. The Celtics seem to have been deflated by the loss to the Lakers on Christmas but are still a top 3 team in the league but are struggling to maintain consistent energy and focus during the long season. The Raptors were looking to show that the gains made as a team last week despite the injuries to Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon were not just blibs on the radar of this below average season of hope.

Sunday, January 11th, 2009 Celtics @ Raptors

Celtics 94
Raptors 88

Ray Allen was allowed to hit 5 open 3’s in the first after the Raptors had opened up a brief lead and never allowed the Raptors to hold the lead again as this game was not close for the majority of it. The Celtics were without Tony Allen and Kendrick Perkins but got huge defensive games from Kevin Garnett and Brian Scalabrine to shut our interior game down. Glen Davis had 11 rebounds off the bench to add to the pressure the Raptors felt inside all afternoon. The Raptors did battle back from 20 points down to a point where they could have tied the game late, but shooting under 30% for most of the game and finishing at 37% from the floor, they were just unable to hit the shot they needed to complete the recovery.

Monday, January 12th, 2009 Raptors @ Celtics

Celtics 115
Raptors 109

Paul Piece scored 39 points as the Raptors found some defense, but were just not able to stop one of the best wing men in the game. Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen were held 12 and 9 points and were bothered all night as the Raptors Jamario Moon and Roko Ukic played solid defense and gave them a chance to win with Andrea Bargnani leading the team with 23 points including the game tying 3 point shot with about 1 second left. It was a game in which the Raptors had a lead going into the 4th quarter but allowed the Celtics to make a couple of quick 3’s by Scalebrine while committing turnovers and allowing them back into the game. Jason Kapono and Joey Graham played well but could not make a shot late in the game. Will Solomon was replaced by Roko Ukic down the stretch after turning the ball over 3 straight possessions costing the Raptors the game in the Overtime.

Here are a few things that I saw over these past two games that I think will bode well as this team moves on after going 0 – 4 against the Celtics for the season.

Play of the Point Guards

Roko Ukic and Will Solomon combined for 32 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds and only 6 turnovers over these two games. As I see it, Roko has moved closer to becoming the full time back up with his poise and his ball control making better decisions in the overtime than Will while facing a Celtics team who were pressing him at every spot on the floor. His 16 points last night were a large part of the reason we had a lead going into the 4th and why we should have won that game if someone could make a stop on Paul Pierce.

Play of the 3 position

Jamario Moon had 15 points and 7 rebounds on Sunday, but had only 8 points – most coming very early in the game and 1 rebound Monday. I wish I could say he was playing tough and that Paul Pierce was just too much, but he was often lost in the key or caught out of position helping weakside while Pierce was planted at the 3 point line waiting for the ball. Jason Kapono had 12 points and 2 rebounds Sunday but was held to 7 points and 1 rebound last night. He did have the sense to get the ball to Andrea Bargnani for the tie, but he has become a liability on defense night after night. Joey Graham had 12 points and 8 rebounds Sunday, but was held to 7 points and 3 on Monday as he was unable to provide the same intensity defensively as he has shown and Paul Pierce was feeling it. This has been and will continue to be the Achilles heel of this team. Wing play has been spotty at best and when we play teams like the Celtics or the Hornets or the 76ers who have athletic wing players, our guys just can’t compete.

Play of Chris Bosh

Many will say that he disappeared last night or faded down the stretch or cowered in the face of Kevin Garnett. All have merit, but none speak of the heart he has brought these past two games. 33 points and 22 rebounds playing perhaps the toughest PF in the game are pretty good numbers. KG over these two games had 30 points and 23 rebounds, including a couple of offensive boards that kept the ball out of the hands of the scrappy Raptors. To say Chris was outplayed by KG is not accurate and unfair. Of those 45 rebounds combined, Bosh had 6 offensive boards including the one that lead to the game tying shot last night while KG had 5 over the two games. Sure KG brings an intensity that we all wish CB4 had, but there is only ONE KG and he has played the game at a very high level since his days with the Timberwolves. That is not how Chris Bosh plays nor does anyone else in the league. Bosh battled KG for the past two nights and held himself to a standard that no one else on the floor had to battle. I for one was thoroughly impressed by his performance and his leadership and hope this is a sign of what could be over the rest of the season.

Play of Andrea Bargnani

Since the injury to Jermaine O’Neal, Andrea has been the starting Center on this team and has begun to blossom into a much more able scorer, a tough defender and a gritty player. Soon, the refs will stop calling those stupid touch fouls on him and he will begin to draw more contact calls as he has begun to show what Bryan Colangello must have seen before he drafted him. In the games against the Celtics, he scored 40 points, grabbed 17 rebounds including 3 offensive boards, handed out 6 assists on 4 turnovers. All of these are aspects of his game that have been improving this season and we are seeing an Andrea Bargnani who has confidence in himself and has won his teams respect and his coach’s confidence as well.

With games against the Bulls led by Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon, the Pacers lead by Danny Granger and Marquis Daniels and T.J. Ford with the Suns coming in on Sunday with Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire and a guy named Shaquille O’Neal, let’s hope the Raptors will see a lot of great things they have done over the past 2 games and keep building the momentum.

Posted on: November 11, 2008 11:14 am
 

Raptors - Celtics - the one that got away!

Last night we witnessed a total meltdown of a team that is quickly becoming very easy to beat! The Celtics came into the game against the Raptors having played a tough Pistons team in Detroit the night before. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce as well as Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen. The nucleus of the Championship team with Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe adding minutes up front with Glenn Davis, this team is playing awesome team defense allowing only 84 points per game coming into last night!

The Raptors brought to the game a team in search of itself after a great start and 2 losses against the Pistons and they young Hawks, they had rebounded with a win in Charlotte against the Bobcats. Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon were leading this team offensively with Bosh over 26 points per game and Jose around 18 with 9 assists and in total command of the floor when he is out there. What this team was looking for was someone to step up and score on a consistent basis! Jermaine O'Neal was brought in, Jamario Moon was given the start, Jason Kapono looks comfortable off the bench and Anthony Parker draws the toughest checks night after night!

The Raptors opened the game giving the ball to JO who scored 19 in the first half and ended up with 23 and 11 boards! An excellent game from the other option inside! He battled all night long and won most of them! Jason Kapono as well added 14 while Anthony Parker had 15! Offensively we could ask for nothing more from these 3 men! However, it seems Doc figured out that holding Bosh to 9 and Jose to 7 would probably win them the game! The Celtics collapsed on Bosh and forced Jose to pass all night! The fourth quarter saw us ahead going in to it, but 6 steals and -5 or 6 in rebounds will cost you a game most nights! Last night it cost us a huge divisional win!

At this point in Sam Mitchell's tenure as coach, he has pretty much the same group of men he has had for the past 3 seasons or so with the loss of T.J. Ford and Morris Petterson and the promotion of Jose and Anthony Parker, these guys have played a lot of games for Sam! At some point he must be questioned on why his guys refuse to play perimeter defense! Paul Pierce should NOT be allowed to score 22 points in a quarter! Nor should anyone for that matter! The rest of the league is very aware of how weak we are on the outside with Jason Kapono being slow and Jamario Moon seemingly disinterested! Either the coach can't motivate them or they just can't play at this level!

Some bad things about last night!

The Raptors were 11 - 16 from the line while the Celtics were 24 - 27! The calls were pretty even at 23 - 21 against the Raptors, but the difference is the Raptors have seemingly forgotten how to attack the hole! Being beaten and fouling on the shot killed them last night as the Celtics battled back into the game on the free throw line in the third. We gave up 6 steals in the fourth and were at least -5 in rebounds in the quarter as the Raptors had been ahead on total boards the whole game! We also turned the ball over at least 4 times in the 4th! That is unacceptable in HIGH SCHOOL ball! We were also -5 in turnovers against the toughest defensive team in the league (I hear the Lakers are rated over-all number 1 but i have not looked into that yet)

This level of mediocre defense will quickly turn this team to an after-thought in an ever tightening Eastern Conference where the Celtics, Pistons and Cavaliers have serious competition to about 10 spots this year. The Hawks, the Magic, the Heat, the 76ers and the Pacers all look to move up the Conference and the Raptors are quickly turning into a stepping stone as they can't seem to stop anyone!

Some Good things about last night!

Well, we did grab 39 boards, a bit better than our 35 per game average with a +2 on the offensive end! The team had 25 assists which means ball movement was there and the open man was found a lot! It was great to see JO step up and score and grab 11 boards! Jason and Anthony did well to provide the 29 they did.

I believe this loss will haunt them a long time! I hope they can learn a few things from the game and move ahead into a long season filled with more ups and downs.

Some things they should learn!

Defense Wins Championships! Until we can defend the wing positions and limit the cutting and slashing that we have seen from Tayshaun Prince, Joe Johnson and now The Truth, this team will not make the playoffs! Defense requires the committment we saw for the first 3 quarters last night! Getting on the glass and diving for loose balls and attacking all over the floor is how they built a 14 point lead on the Celtics. Then they stood around watching Paul Pierce light them up!

We can learn that every body has a role to play and if anyone fails, this team will not succeed. The Celtics show everyone that basketball is a team sport! You win as a team and you lose as a team! Last night, the Raptors were beaten as a team in every position on the floor.

We can learn that potential does not translate well to playing at a high level! Andrea Bargnani and Jamario Moon are very talented players with enormous skill sets that COULD contribute to any team in this league! Right now, neither seems willing to pay the price to play at the level expected night after night! Teams have players to fill roles. All teams are not made up of SuperStar players alone! Right now, Chris Bosh is the Stud of this team! When he has a bad game or gets shut down like last night, then the rest of the team needs to find a way to win! That is usually by playing tough defense! That is why the Celtics are the Champs!

The guys can learn that Sam does actually know how to coach defense and do what he is asking them!

They can learn that it is possible for them to play at whatever level they choose on any night!

This picture should be put up in every locker these guys dress at this season!

Do i still love this team? YES I do! They need to regroup quickly or the playoffs will be out of reach!

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com