Celtics-Raptors: Luke Harangody Has Career Night as Boston Routs Toronto

deleteth accounethCorrespondent IIIJanuary 8, 2011

Luke Harangody posted the first double-double of his young NBA career, recording 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 11 boards this Friday night. The Celtics decimated the Toronto Raptors 122-102 en route to their 28th victory of the season.

Harangody had totaled just 22 points and 19 rebounds all season long on an average of just 5:35 MPG prior to this game. Harangody played 27 minutes tonight, the second most of any Celtic big behind Glen Davis.

The former Fighting Irish star had received a slight boost in minutes (about 9.5 per game) and productivity over the last five games before getting the opportunity for big minutes tonight.

Harangody has shown NBA shooting range all season despite his limited play. Tonight, four of his baskets were 14 feet or deeper, including a three-pointer.

His biggest asset is his tenacity and ability to move without the ball. At 6'8", Harangody is undersized for his position, and he isn't the greatest of leapers. However, he's shown the all-important knack of consistently battling in all phases of the game. The term "scrapper" and the phrase "un-chartable intangibles" seem appropriate in Harangody's case. 

Harangody draws a great deal of comparison to current Celtics forward Glen Davis and San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair—outstanding college players deemed too unathletic and undersized to make a significant impact in the NBA.

All three were second-round picks, and all three have shown (or have begun to show in Harangody's case) that basketball IQ and a willingness to scrap are just as important in the NBA as pure athleticism.

After all, Harangody averaged 19.2 PPG and 9.5 RPG in four full seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He remains one of the most productive players in the history of the Big East Conference, no small feat.

The most important factor in Harangody's great night was certainly his defensive accountability. In the Celtics system, even if you can score, you won't stay on the floor very long if you don't play defense. That wasn't a problem for Luke, as he looked comfortable out there on the floor, and was often asked to guard the likes of Andrea Bargani, one of the more versatile players in the league. 

He looked like he fully understood the Celtics' complex defensive system, helping out and rotating to the correct man. He even had a cross-court block on Ed Davis in the third quarter, after he rotated to the post after helping out on the perimeter.  

Harangody finished with a plus/minus of plus-13. Statistics like these will keep him on the floor in the future.


Game Notes

  • Rajon Rondo came back down to earth after his triple-double against the Spurs. He had nine points, seven assists, four boards and two steals. However, he played just 26 minutes and was delegated to cheerleader for the night, as the C's were out in front of the Raptors for basically the whole game.
  • Shaq had one of his better nights as of late. He had 12 points and six boards on 6-for-9 shooting in just 21 minutes of action.
  • Paul Pierce and DeMar DeRozan tied for the game lead in points with 20.
  • The Celtics continued their total disregard of offensive inefficiency. They shot 46-80 (57.5 percent) from the field and 11-for-21 from three (52.4 percent).
  • The Celtics won their 3000th game all time, just the second club in NBA history to do so, and Doc Rivers tied KC Jones for third all time in Wins for a Celtic coach (308). Just Tommy Heinsohn (427) and Red Auerbach (910) are ahead of Doc on the wins list. Pretty good company to be in. It's always fun when records like these are broken on the same night.
  • The Celtics get little rest as they have to travel to Chicago to meet Derrick Rose and Co. for an 8:00 PM matchup tomorrow night.


Great News on the Injury Front

According to Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett is expected to make his return from a strained calf either Monday against the Rockets or Wednesday against the Kings. The C's are 4-2 in his absence.

Kendrick Perkins is reportedly targeting a Jan. 28 return against the Phoenix Suns. He was initially slated to return around the All-Star break, but has been making leaps and bounds in both his conditioning and his recovery from injury. Perkins was initially sidelined with a torn knee ligament during Game 6 of last year's NBA Finals.

While there is still no official timetable for Delonte West's return, his cast is off and he is eager to get back on the court. He still has two weeks before he can resume basketball activities, but a February return is looking likely. Given the ugly nature of the injury, I'd say that's a huge positive for the C's.

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