Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 101, Raptors 102
Celtics 101, Raptors 102
For the second time in as many games, the Celtics looked like an uninterested group for the first three quarters of the game before turning up the energy in the fourth period. But when all was said and done, the result was exactly the same, as Boston racked up its second shocking loss in a three-day span.
The Celtics trailed by as many as 12 points early in the fourth quarter but put together a 17-1 run later in the period to give themselves a 98-96 lead. They maintained a lead into the final moments of the game, as Glen Davis' 2-of-2 performance at the free-throw line put the C's ahead 101-98 with 21.3 seconds remaining. Jay Triano called timeout for the Raptors, and instead of drawing up a play for a game-tying 3-point attempt, he elected to extend the game with an attempt at a quick two-point shot. Toronto executed perfectly out of the timeout and Sonny Weems scored an easy layup with 18.8 seconds left on the clock to bring the Raptors within one point.
Ray Allen took the inbound pass after Weems' bucket and turned to dribble up court, expecting to be fouled at some point and be sent to the line. But Leandro Barbosa reached around Allen and got away with a whack on the sharpshooter's left arm that resulted in the ball popping out of his possession. It bounced into the frontcourt and Jose Calderon took possession with 12.9 seconds remaining in the game.
It was a chaotic moment, but the Celtics' defense stayed poised. Pierce rose up and blocked Barbosa's attempt at a game-winning shot just outside the paint, seemingly saving the game for Boston. The rebound, however, fell into Amir Johnson's hands, and he went up quickly for another layup attempt from directly in front of the hoop. Pierce and Kevin Garnett both attempted to block that shot as well, and they did, but Pierce was whistled for a foul. Johnson went to the line and nailed both of the critical free throws to put Toronto on top, 102-101, with 2.7 seconds remaining.
Boston actually got a fantastic look at the basket on their final shot when Pierce dribbled down the right side of the lane and put up a fade-away jumper over DeMar DeRozan, but his shot came up just shot as time expired. With that, the C's were left with their second straight disappointing loss as they head to Atlanta to close out a difficult back-to-back Monday night.
Key Box Score Line
With Rajon Rondo missing his first game of the season with a strained left hamstring, it was time for Nate Robinson to step into the staring lineup and give the Celtics a boost. No one knew what Boston would get out of Robinson after his inconsistent play through the first 12 games of the season, but he wound up delivering a great performance this afternoon.
Robinson came out of the gates firing in the Air Canada Centre and played the key role in Boston jumping out to a 13-point first-quarter lead. He dropped 16 points in the first period and finished with a team-high 22 on the afternoon. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out two assists and finished with a team-high plus-20 in the plus/minus category.
Box Score Nuggets
- The teams combined to commit 55 personal fouls, resulting in 77 free throw attempts.
- Boston shot 28-of-38 from the line, while Toronto made 30 of its 39 attempts.
- The Raptors' bench outscored Boston's 31-21.
- Andrea Bargnani scored a game-high 29 points.
- The No. 19 was randomly common in Boston's box score, as two players (Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) scored 19 points and three players (Semih Erden, Marquis Daniels and Delonte West) finished with a minus-19 in the plus/minus category.
- Kevin Garnett and Allen tied for a team-high with eight rebounds apiece.
- Reggie Evans grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds for Toronto.
- Both teams made 34 field goals.
- Pierce led the Celtics with five assists, which tied with Leandro Barbosa for the game-high.
- Barbosa also scored 12 points off the bench.
- All five of Boston's starters finished with a positive plus/minus rating, while all four reserves finished in the negative.
- Amir Johnson finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Toronto.
- The teams combined to commit only 24 turnovers, 13 by Boston and 11 by Toronto.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on the final minute of the game: "You know they’re going to swipe, you know they are going to go after the ball; you’ve got to protect the ball. We didn’t execute very well. We had a foul to give on the play that they scored quick; we wanted to use it and didn’t use it. Then we turned the ball over. Then the Amir Johnson play was…whatever."