I just want to say thank you to Jared Sullinger for purposely missing that tip so we could maintain a portion of the sanity that we have left from last night’s awful loss. In a circus like fashion, the Boston Celtics fell once again to the Toronto Raptors 99-97. I may or may not be losing my mind but I think I watched an entertaining and well played basketball game. A lot of good things came out of this loss (Get used to hearing this), Stevens used the same starting lineup, most of the Celtic players played well and Stevens, in my opinion coached his best total game. So without wasting any more time, here’s how it went down.
1st Quarter, the men in green started off slowly on offense once again as Toronto leaped out of the gates forcing turnovers out of Boston early and often and made an emphasis to attack inside where Boston is noticeably vulnerable. DeMar DeRozan repeatedly posted up Bradley and got inside to either score or earn free throws, Kyle Lowry stayed true to his game and attacked the paint to either score of dish to his teammates. All was not bad in the beginning of this game as Jeff Green played well with 6 points in the first quarter, along with Sullinger who has been matched up with brute centers Brook Lopez and Jonas Valanciunas two nights in a row. A good sign for Sullinger is that he’s still moving well (as well as someone his weight can) and doesn’t seem to be favoring his back at all. Raptors lead 31-26.
2nd quarter, it was Orlando Summer League all over again! Just kidding, but the big Canadian, Kelly Olynyk really gave Boston a boost of energy with his scoring, he scored 11 points in the 2nd quarter alone. Sweet jumpshots, put backs and even a dunk! Fellow big man Vitor Faverani, who I shall be calling Big Favi from now on also played well. Although he did not rack up any stats like Olynyk did with his scoring, Faverani made things tough(er) on Valanciunas and frankly, that’s more than any other Boston big has been able to do to any big-man they’ve faced. The defense was much more fluid in the 2nd quarter than the 1st, solid rotations, solid rebounding and the Celtics limited fouls. Celtics lead 53-51.
2nd half, the Raptors came out aggressive out of halftime and with the help of uber-athletic guard Terrence Ross took the lead back from the Celtics in the 3rd quarter. Boston started the 3rd quarter much like the 1st quarter with turnovers and poor defense. The 4th quarter was much of the same, Brooks entered the game and made an impact with his scoring ability. Down 95-85 with under 3 minutes to play, Boston was able to cut into the lead in large thanks to MarShon Brooks and Vitor Faverani. MarShon was able to connect on two 3 pointers and both times got the lead within 3 and on the final possession, what appeared to be a breakaway dunk by Toronto turned into a missed dunk and in a blur, the ball was in Crawford’s hands, Crawford attempted the game winning 3 but came up short right to Sullinger in front of the rim but Sullinger could not convert thus ending the game.
MarShon Brooks: 17 points (6-10)
Kelly Olynyk: 13 points (6-7), 9 rebounds.
Vitor Faverani: 13 points (4-8), 5 rebounds.
Things To Note:
It’s an odd trend I see developing but the free throw box outs are really poor and opponents are getting second chance points by exploiting this.
Sullinger is SO good at sealing off his man and getting easy baskets in the paint. With his lack of explosiveness, that is very nice to see!
Green got back to playing like he should play, inside then outside. Although two deep 3-pointers were what got him rolling, the Celtics often attempted to post Green up. While not all post ups were successful, he did draw fouls while on his way to post up. He also had a very, very nice left hand dunk in the 3rd quarter.
I haven’t been Stevens’ number one supporter and have been left wanting to see more from him after earlier preseason games but I thought this game he coached very well. Timeouts were called when they should have, stuck to a lineup, made good adjustments as the game went on and his plays were much, much better than what I’ve seen so far.