Not that the Celtics will ever admit it but did the fact they played the Raptor play a role in Rondo being missing in action? Barbosa was reporting back for active duty and based on the Raptors trade he really didn't have much choice. Gone was Jack, Gone was Banks and the Raptors were left with only Jose. Peja and Bayless will make their debut vs Philly so the Raptors were 11 deep with Barbosa their only real option at back up point guard. Celtics came in off an embarrassing loss the the Thunder minus their best player in Kevin Durant. Everything was set up for a Boston Massacre of the Raptors. But it seems fitting to say, that on any given Sunday, or in the case of the NBA any other day of the week, anyone can win.
It sure started off the way one might have expected. Boston got the first 5 points and took a quick 5-0 jump start with little Nate in for Rondo. It would continue as Robinson was playing well in a rare chance to make a start and before the Raptors got a chance to realize Jarrett Jack was gone they were down 22-9 and the ugly beat down was underway it appeared. Raptors were being lead in scoring by Reggie Evans at this point and no that is not a joke. Raptors would find a way to the lid off the basket and at least stop the bleeding but it was the Celtics leading 31-23 after 1.
Bargs would hit a 3 early in the 2nd Quarter and he was BALLIN. Screw Like A BOSH where is LIKE A BARGS. That would spark the Raptors and before the Celtics knew it they were in a basketball game. A Reggie Evans free throw gave the Raps their first lead 43-42. The Raps and Celtics would swap the lead a few times. Bargnani will still not rebounding with just 1 but he was getting a lot of trips to the line. A lot of those being and 1's as well. when the dust settled on the first half it was Raptors leading 61-58 and Bargs and Nate Robinson the games high scorers with 18 points a piece.
The Celtics were playing defence very Raptor like. After a Doc Rivers/K.G verbal beat down at the half the Celtics would surely pull it together. Not so much the plucky Raptors refused to give up the lead. They couldn't really get away from Boston but they would keep a 1 to 3 point lead for a big portion of the 3rd. Celtics would take the lead on a pair of Shaq free throws a rare event. But a couple of Jose free throws would give the Raps the lead 73-72 and from there the Raptors would build a lead it got as high as 9 points. Raptors would end the quarter with a 7 point lead and an 82-75 lead after 3.
Raptors would continue to keep it rolling and it was 90-79 and Raps were cruising to an unexpected win. But this is the Raptors do you really think they were going to make it easy? That wouldn't be the Raptors. A turnover here a Ray Allen 3 there and the once 11 point lead of the Raptors would be gone in a flash. Raptors would get stuck on 94 and were firing up nasty air balls and Demar had perhaps the ugliest and it was a rough day for Demar today. Boston would pass the Raptors by and took a 98-94 lead. Finally Amir Johnson at the line would get scoreboard off 94.
Hope in the live blog I was doing for The Score was fading and it appeared so were the Raptors. Raptors would hang around though and with 21.3 second left were down 101-98. Weems would settle for a quick 2. Raptors need to foul now and hope for a miss. No they wouldn't they got a steal instead and whistle blew with 2 7 seconds left what was the call? A foul sending Amir to the line. Wasn't on Shaq though he fouled out early in this one with still about 8 and change to play I think. Amir steps to the line. makes the first and were tied....2nd counts as well..Raptors LEAD 102-101..WOW!!! But Boston had one last chance. Pierce a fading jumper......BUT NO IT DOESN'T FALL. Raps get the win.
The Raptor get the 102-101 Win. Calderon in his debut as the undisputed starting point guard was good not great with 11 points and just 2 dimes but actually played a little D today. The Classic Bargs 29 points and just 2 rebounds line. Amir with a more tradition big line with 17 points and 11 rebounds and game winning point at the line. Demar and Kleiza struggled with 6 points and 2 points in that order. Reggie Evans was 1 point shy of a double double with 9 points and 16 boards. Raptors are on a roll to welcome their new team members winners of 3 straight. Boston meanwhile is on a bit of a mini slide.