Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 74, Raptors 86
Celtics 74, Raptors 86
Is it possible to lose two games in one night? The Boston Celtics may have proven that you can.
The C's fell to the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night in an overtime thriller, and in the process they may have cost themselves Friday night’s matchup with the Toronto Raptors.
Anytime the C’s and Lakers face off, it’s all about grabbing a win any way you can. Doc Rivers rode with that mindset last night when he left his starters on the floor for big time minutes despite the fact that they were playing in the first night of a back-to-back. It was an overtime game against Los Angeles, and you don’t play your bench in overtime.
Each of Boston’s starters played at least 33 minutes of action Thursday night, including a game-high 48 minutes from captain Paul Pierce. Jermaine O’Neal, the team’s starting center, played the least amount of minutes of that group - a season-high 33 minutes of action - and he didn’t even play Friday night in Toronto. That will give you an idea of how stretched out the other four starters were heading into tonight's action.
Shortly after the C’s fell in overtime, they needed to board a flight to Toronto for tonight’s game against the Raptors. The flight was scheduled to take off at 12:15 a.m., and if the players were asleep by 3 a.m. it would have been a miracle. In addition to those big minutes played and long night of travel, Boston was forced to hop right back into action at 7 p.m. tonight for an early start in Toronto.
That’s a quick turnaround for anyone, let alone a core that is one of the oldest in the league. It was obvious from the get-go, though, that the Big Three, whose average age is 35, weren’t the only ones who were running on empty.
Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass, who got a spot start in place of O’Neal, were also lethargic from the opening tip. Nearly everyone who came off of Boston’s bench fell into the same category, too. The C’s simply didn’t have it tonight, and it showed from the very start of the game.
That’s how the Celtics fell behind by as many as 16 points in the first quarter of tonight’s game in Toronto. That’s how they managed to score a woeful 34 total points in the entire first half of this game.
It’s no secret that back-to-backs are difficult in the NBA. Boston has dealt with them decently this season, but tonight was the exception. Thursday night’s loss to the Lakers was devastating both physically and mentally, to the point that it cost the Celtics a game on Friday as well.
Key Box Score Line
For the second consecutive game, a Boston Celtics player’s name does not show up in the Key Box Score Line. Last night it was Pau Gasol, and tonight it’s his Spaniard teammate, Jose Calderon.
Calderon is one of the more underrated point guards in the league, and tonight he showed us all why his name shouldn’t float under the radar. He racked up 17 points in the game, which matched the high of any Celtics player, and dished out a whopping 14 assists. That total was double that of what Rajon Rondo contributed, as he struggled to seven assists and five turnovers tonight. Calderon didn’t just rack up those assists tonight, either - he did it in perfect fashion. The turnover portion of his box score is filled with a goose egg, and that’s not supposed to happen against this vaunted Boston defense.
Toronto’s point guard was the catalyst to their success tonight. He was a scorer, an assist man and a leader. That was plenty to land him in this spot.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics slightly outshot the Raptors from the field, by 0.6 percent, but still lost by 12 points.
- Boston committed 17 turnovers.
- Jose Calderon dished out a game-high 14 assists to go along with seven points.
- Calderon's 14 assists were double that of Rajon Rondo's, and Calderon also didn't commit a single turnover.
- Two Raptors, Amir Johnson (12) and Aaron Gray (11), grabbed more than 10 rebounds, while no Celtics player grabbed more than eight.
- Kevin Garnett led the Celtics in both scoring, with 17 points, and rebounding, with eight boards.
- Mickael Pietrus scored 11 points off the bench and also chipped in four boards.
- DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 21 points.
- The Celtics attempted two less free throws and made two less free throws than the Raptors.
- Toronto assisted on 26 of its 33 made field goals.
- Rajon Rondo played nearly 41 minutes the night after a tough overtime loss to the Lakers.
- Boston scored just 34 points in the first half.
- Toronto scored 42 points in the paint, compared to just 28 by the Celtics.
- Toronto led for the entire game, including a 16-point advantage in the first quarter.
- Rondo committed a game-high five turnovers.