It was Friday the 13th today. What you are about to read might only be explained by that fact. On the day that the Raptors announce Andrea Bargnani is being shut down for the season and they would be without Jose Calderon it seemed all set up for the Boston Celtics to roll the Raptors. The Celtics came into this one riding high and having NBA experts saying that no one wanted to play them in the playoffs. The Raptors will not be in the playoffs of course so why should they be worried. Ray Allen was not in the line-up for the Celtics but honestly they would not need him to beat the Raptors right?
The first half was just to ugly for words. That said it was not just the Raptors that looked ugly. They as you would expect were having all kinds of trouble scoring points. Their lack of offensive punch combined with the Celtics always tough defense. However the Celtics were not exactly setting the world on fire. Rajon Rondo was getting some assists but no points to speak of. This being guarded primarily by Ben Uzoh on a 10 day contract for the Raptors. Maybe Rondo was just expecting an easy night of blowing by Jose Calderon or he just never worried about some dude from the D-League being able to stop him. When it finally came to an end the Celtics had sleep walked their way to a 36-30 halftime lead.
What happened in the second half was out of the theater of the bizarre. The Raptors had apparently lulled the Celtics to sleep. The Raptors who shot in the 20-30% range for most of the first half suddenly starting making shots. Boston meanwhile would have had a better chance going down the street and hit home runs than making baskets. It set up a run by the Raptors that basically lasted the entire third quarter. The Raptors out scored Boston 27-11 and had a big lead heading to the the 4th quarter.
Enough of this nonsense right? Not exactly the Raptors continued to roll early on in the 4th things maxed out with a 64-47 lead which is 17 points for the mathematically challenged. Then finally the Celtics made a mad charge for the finish line and the Raptors lead was melting faster than snow in July. The Celtics on a Paul Pierce basket and one that he would make got it to being a one point game. Demar DeRozan would knock down a couple free throws to make the lead three again. Pierce would jack up a brick three attempt and after a couple more free throws by the Raptors this game was basically done. Raptors with the stunning 84-79 win.
This give the Raptors a split of the season series winning both games vs Boston at the ACC this season for the first time since they won a Division Title and the Big 3 didn't exist. This was a tough loss for the Celtics who are facing a back to back to back that started with this game with the Raptors. The Raptors next team they face Atlanta won tonight moving ahead of Boston. Now ironically enough the Celtics are left to have to cheer for the Raptors on Sunday in Atlanta and here in Toronto on Monday. The Raptors previous trip to Atlanta was an ugly loss on the Martian Luther King Jr. Holiday in the United States. DeRozan had 22 to lead the way and Kleiza who was only ruled good to go for this one this afternoon had 17. Raptors had a team effort though and played a very good third quarter to earn the win. In other 3 quarters they leaned on their defense to keep them hanging around. The fact Dwane Casey could match and perhaps surpass the win total this team had under Jay Triano with only 66 games compared to 82 speaks to the job he has done. Add in the fact that Andrea Bargnani has been a spectator more than a player and a number of other injuries it makes the job he has done even more amazing. You may be upset the Raptors lost some ping pong balls but instead you should be happy they finally seem to have a quality coach calling the shots. I will take that and take my chances in the NBA Lottery.