In yet another preseason scrimmage where the starters played limited minutes and coaches were holding tryouts for players trying to crack their team’s rotation, there was some decent basketball being played. Not without a lot of mistakes, but entertaining nonetheless.
This preseason contest was televised by Comcast in New England; however, for some unknown reason, Raptors TV choose to re-broadcast the other Comcast game between the Cavs and Wiz. I guess that somehow this saved MLSE money?
Of course, anyone who actually spends money to buy Raptors TV would never consider watching the Raptors play on the Internet instead of watching what MLSE chooses to broadcast that evening? I’m sure that this decision made sense to someone trapped in their ACC cubicle.
If MLSE won’t show the game, I guess there is no reason to complain about Ontario’s other sports channels that chose darts, horse racing, and rerun programming instead of picking up the Comcast-NE broadcast.
This game was a good test for both sides.
In the first half, Bosh found his offensive game from the opening tip, sinking two free throws after being fouled by Perkins on his first shot. With 11 points in the quarter and 20 in the half, Bosh not so quietly announced that he is back.
Chris is still finding his legs, however, so his one point second half performance is better left forgotten. But those three third quarter alley oop dunks by KG in just two minutes and 14 seconds should be burned into Chris Bosh’s memory.
As noted, Kevin Garnett also played well, but his game seemed to get stronger as time passed. KG got his sixth point on an ally oop dunk from Rondo late in the first quarter and seemed to have no problem losing the Raptors’ big men, including Bosh, again and again as the game progressed ending up at 16 and 6.
Jose Calderon played his best game against his toughest opponent to-date. Making Rondo pay for not pressuring him off the three-point line, driving effectively, and for the most part keeping Rondo in front of him. Calderon even stole the ball off a clumsy drive effort by Rondo in the third. The Celtics’ announcers noted that Calderon is one of their favorite guards in the league. Jose had a 12 point, 3 assist night.
Rondo didn’t score in this game until there was 1:14 left in the first half when he used his speed to drive by Calderon for the layup. A layup that could be partially blamed on the four other Raptors who failed to even drift towards the basket after Rondo started his move from well outside the three-point line.
But Rondo made up for a lack of scoring with excellent passing ending up with 6 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals. The Rondo to Garnett connection was in full effect.
Jack’s play is also progressing as he got 12 points and 5 assists in about 22 minutes. Even though Eddie House seemed to be able to lose him at will, it didn’t cost the Raptors that badly as House shot just 3-of-13.
Jack’s different style of play is becoming more noticeable as the preseason progresses. Jack’s physical play provides an excellent contrast to what Calderon brings to the floor.
Bargnani started out in this game with great effect, quickly taking down two offensive boards and getting a third before five minutes had passed. But Bargnani had a tough shooting night ending up with only six points on 2-of-8 to go with his seven rebounds.
Andrea wasn’t alone in his struggles. Evans managed to go 0-for-1 with a foul in five minutes of play before tweaking an ankle. Johnson managed a 0-for-1 to go with 3 boards, 2 blocks and a steal in 15 minutes and looked over-matched at the offensive end of the floor.
Only Nesterovic had something closer to what one might have expected. He shot 2-of-4 with six boards and a block, but Rasho didn’t really look that effective either.
On the other side, Perkins had his way with all of the Raptors’ big men, literally shoving them out-of-the-way. One shove leading to a Bargnani technical.
Davis was dominate in close. The Raptors had no answer for his energy and effort. Even Sheldon Williams put in a better effort than anyone not named Bosh on this night.
Perkins, Davis, and Williams combined for 30 points and 16 rebounds. Bargnani, Nesterovic, and Johnson managed just 12 points and 16 boards.
All of the Raptors big men will have to significantly step up their efforts if they plan on giving the Celtics any trouble this season.
Hedo Turkoglu didn’t look as bad as our first looks at Calderon or Bosh (in Toronto). But even though Turkoglu played 21.5 minutes, it was obvious that his timing and conditioning are not there yet.
A few nice plays were sprinkled in there by Hedo after the first half. An unexpected driving reverse layup followed by a couple of good looking fade-away jumpers early in the third quarter gave us a look at what we can expect to see soon.
Paul Pierce however wasn’t challenged on this night by Turkoglu and took advantage of Hedo’s rust putting together a nice game without much effort.
The Raptors’ rookie DeMar DeRozan had a quiet night, but he did get to line seven times and managed 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting. Perhaps more important was Ray Allen had a quieter night, 8 points on 1-of-7 shooting and getting to the line himself six times. DeRozan did have one memorable play fooling Allen and making the layup plus the foul.
Sonny Weems had a tougher night than he’s been used to thus far. But he did manage 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting and was very active. Unfortunately, Doc Rivers quickly shut down all attempts by the Raptors to turn this into a fast break game. And Sonny did try to speed up the game.
From a Raptors defensive standpoint the biggest disappointment should have come after the Celtics’ rookie Hudson entered the game. Hudson, a 6′3″ guard played the last 13 minutes of the game scoring 12 points and seeming to be able to take advantage of which ever Raptors’ guard was supposed to be guarding him.
It was hard to tell if this defensive lapse should be hung on Jack, Belinelli, DeRozan, or Weems but there was little excuse for letting this rookie maintain the Celtics lead through the fourth quarter by scoring half his team’s points. Especially since Hudson only sunk oen basket after Douby and Banks entered the game with about five minutes left.
And for those who believe such things are important, the Raptors lost this contest 106-90. Not that anyone has been predicting the Raptors to upset the powerhouse Celtics this season.
Another night, another tune-up. Some things went reasonably well. Some things everyone should have been aware of already did not. So don’t take it too seriously.
Next preseason game, the Rockets at the ACC on Thursday night. Be there if you can! The scalpers have been shouting about half price tickets before each game. The Raptors have a 35 percent off program themselves!