|Posted by B-PAUL on November 28, 2009 at 12:15 AM|
Going into tonight's game Celtics fans were still unsure what we were going to get from our team. Were we going to play like a top-tier team in the league, or play to the level of our opponents? For the first time since the game against the Bulls we saw the real Celtics. The Celtics had shown spurts of good play but had not shown any consistency at all. Tonight the Celtics used close to a full game effort to beat a middle-of-the-pack Toronto Raptors team by the score of 116-103.
The Celtics started out tonights game by firing on all cylinders on the offensive side of things. They made 12 of their first 13 shots but still couldn't pull away. The Celtics defense could not contain the Raptors, the two teams swapped leads five time in the first quarter and the Celtics held a 33-27 lead after one quarter. If you need indication of how good the Celtics offense was, and how bad the Raptors defense was, the C's shot 87% from the field during the first quarter.
The second quarter continued to be an offensive showdown as the Celtics could not find a way to stop the Toronto offense. Toronto outscored the C's 28-21 in the second to take a 55-54lead going into the half. At this point in the game it was hard to believe the Celtics were losing the game after giving us one of their best offensive performances of the year.
The Celtics then used a 9-0 run in the middle of the third quarter to take a 70-61 lead with four minutes remaining in the quarter. This run was a result of intense in-your-face defense and some very good transition basketball. The Celtics continued this type of play for the rest of the quarter and took a 87-72 lead into the fourth quarter, capped by a Rasheed Wallace three pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the quarter.
The final quarter continued to tell us that the Celtics are back, we finally started to see that swagger that we saw during the beginning of the season. This started with a monsterous dunk by Paul Pierce over Chris Bosh. Pierce taunted at a "injured" Chris Bosh and along with coach Doc Rivers, he recieved a technical foul. Although we don't want the Celtics to turn into the big bully in the league, it was good to see some confidence in the eyes of Paul Pierce and the rest of the Celtics.
Although I wasn't impressed with the performance of Ray Allen earlier in the game he ended up leading the team tonight with 20 points, followed by Perkins and Pierce with 18, and Rasheed off the bench with 15.
I'm going to be honest, I went into tonight's game with my focus on Ray Allen's play. I have not been impressed lately with his defense or his three point shooting. At the beginning of tonight's game he was getting beat off the dribble, being sloppy with the ball, and throwing up shots off the side of the backboard. After making those mistakes he started to play like the Ray Allen I like to see. Ray finally showed us that he is still the three point shooter we all know that he can be, tonight he went 3-4 from behind the arc. He also showed us that he is going to continue to become more versatile by attacking the rim. Hopefully this is the Ray Allen we see for the remainder of the year.
Once again Paul Pierce came out and gave us a great game tonight. Pierce was full of explosiveness and showed us some things we haven't seen from him in awhile (see above video). If anyone is questioning the age of the Celtics one guy they shouldn't look at right now at Paul Pierce, he is currently having one of the best seasons of his career.
Tonight we also saw one of the better performances off the bench by Rasheed Wallace. So far this season I have repeatedly said to get Sheed down low. I like the fact he can spread the floor, but I prefer a mixture and this is what we saw tonight. Sheed was 3-5 from inside the arc and 3-6 from behind the arc, I would be happy seeing Sheed split his shot attempts like this every game.
At the end of the night tonight the Celtics lifted some weight off my shoulders, after close game against New York and Philadelphia I was still worried. Tonight I can go to bed happy and dream about banner 18.
Make sure to check out www.hardwoodhoudini.com to see GreenBanner18's recap on tonight's game.
If you didn't get to catch Celtics Stuff Live's Postgame show tonight then here is a quick recap on what they talked about and a link to listen to the episode.
The Celtics managed to pull it together in the 3rd quarter and took a convincing lead on the Raptors for their 12th win of the season. Justin, Jon and Kevin joined up after the game for the recap and were equally conservative in their view of the game as a sign that the team has "Got It" quite yet. Discussions loomed around the perimeter defense, technical fouls, KG's athleticism in the game, and the publicity nightmare that is about result for Paul Pierce after he had the cajones to send all around NBA nice guy, Chris Bosh, to the floor.
Join us Sunday night follwing the game against Miami when Paul Flannery of WEEI.com will be our guest!
Categories: Boston Celtics