Ford Keys to the Game: Raptors 73, Celtics 81 (Preseason)
Raptors 73, Celtics 81
The Boston Celtics’ preseason is now complete, and they’ll head into the regular season without an unscathed record. They can stand by that fact thanks in large part to rookie E’Twaun Moore.
Moore, who was drafted 55th overall by the Celtics in the 2011 NBA Draft, is proving quickly that he should have never slipped that far. He has led key spurts in both of Boston’s preseason contests that eventually led the team to victories.
The rookie out of Purdue drilled two huge jumpers during Sunday’s win in Toronto. He did a lot more than that tonight.
Moore showed off his aggressiveness against the Raptors tonight, and that’s how he jumpstarted Boston’s key run of the game.
Toronto had trailed by as many as 19 points in the game but slowly chipped away at Boston's lead and trailed 54-49 with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter. Moments after Ed Davis’ dunk brought the game to that score, Moore turned on the aggressiveness.
He went to the free throw line for four attempts in just 22 seconds of play, making three of them. Soon thereafter, he drilled a 3-pointer that bumped Boston’s lead up to eight, at 60-52. That trey accounted for the first three points of a 10-1 run the C’s would rally off to close the quarter.
Brandon Bass scored the next two points from the free throw line, and then Moore tacked on one more. Bass then threw down a driving dunk to make Boston’s lead 65-52 with just 29.8 seconds remaining in the third.
Amir Johnson stopped the bleeding for the Raptors with a free throw with nine seconds left in the frame, but that was only temporary. He left too much time on the clock, because Moore wasn’t done.
On Boston’s final possession of the quarter, Moore squared up for a jumper from 17 feet out and the ball hit nothing but net. The shot was so sweet that Kevin Garnett hopped off of the Celtics’ bench and had a look of disgust on his face – that look of disgust that NBA players give in as an indication that a shot was simply unguardable.
Moore’s jumper gave Boston a commanding 67-53 lead heading into the final quarter, and Toronto never threatened from that point on. All in all, the rookie tallied nine points over the final 2:46 of the quarter. Just another day in the life of a rookie who has now sparked his team to victory twice in four days.
Key Box Score Line
Forgive us if the Keys to the Game seem a bit repetitive this preseason. Yes, E’Twaun Moore has now been highlighted in the Key Moment for both games, and yes, Rajon Rondo is about to be highlighted for the second straight game with the Key Box Score Line.
Rondo, to put it simply, was dominant tonight.
Boston’s point guard played less than 23 minutes, but that didn’t prevent him from playing a fantastic game in front of the hometown faithful. Rondo racked up 17 points during his limited playing time, thanks in large part to his willingness to fire up jumpers. He finished the game shooting a fantastic 6-of-10 from the field, and he also went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
When Rondo wasn’t putting the ball through the basket he was instead helping his teammates to. He tallied six assists in the contest, just two shy of his total during 27-plus minutes of play on Sunday. Rondo also chipped in two rebounds and two steals.
It’s always a good thing to see Rondo making his shots, but it’s even better to see him taking those shots without hesitation. If he can take them and make them in this manner during the regular season, opponents are going to be in a whole lot of trouble.
Box Score Nuggets
- Ray Allen led the Celtics with six rebounds, four of which were offensive.
- DeMar DeRozan attempted a game-high 12 free throws. He made eight of them.
- DeRozan recorded the only double-double of the game, with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
- Rajon Rondo led Boston in scoring with 17 points. He also notched a game-high six assists.
- Boston was outrebounded 48-38.
- For the second straight game, neither team shot better than 40.0 percent from the floor.
- The Celtics led from start to finish.
- Toronto ourscored Boston 34-24 in the paint.
- E'Twaun Moore scored 11 points off the bench for the Celtics.
- James Johnson fouled out of the game in less than 32 minutes of playing time.
- Toronto went 24-of-36 from the free-throw line, while Boston shot 25-of-34 from the stripe.
- Brandon Bass scored 12 points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting.
- Both teams were sloppy, with Boston committing 21 turnovers and Toronto committing 20.
- Toronto shot just 1-of-17 from 3-point range.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on if there's a reason why the team is taking less 3-pointers: "No. That’s just a function of Paul Pierce not being on the floor, really."