Raptors Rally Comes Up Short Against Celtics
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TORONTO (CP) - A furious fourth-quarter rally by the Toronto Raptors provided little re-assurance for head coach Jay Triano following a pre-season loss Friday night.
The Raptors outscored Boston 39-16 in the fourth with mostly bench players on the court but still lost 117-112 to the Celtics in front of 13,763 fans at Air Canada Centre.
It was not the kind of message Triano had hoped his team would send.
``We got our asses kicked the first three quarters,'' said Triano. ``Are they better than us? Absolutely. So we have to make it up somehow. We have to make it up by out-working teams and we didn't do that. We didn't win that category tonight, either.''
The Raptors allowed many easy lay-ups and looked like a team still learning to live without former star Chris Bosh, now with the Miami Heat.
``Early in the game, it was a tight game and they hit three (three-pointers) in a row,'' Triano said. ``There was one at the end of a shot clock, one at the end of the (first) quarter and another one where we missed the coverage.
``I can live with the two, other than the missed coverage, but from that point on it was just like oh they're making shots . . . that's when you have to bear down and work harder. We didn't work hard until the fourth quarter.''
The Celtics played without veterans Paul Pierce and Shaquille O'Neal, yet toyed with the Raptors for the first three quarters.
``If you see that people are constantly getting lay-ups, a hard foul is not the worst thing you can do and it is something you can't shy away from,'' said Jarrett Jack, who had six points and three assists.
``When other teams tend to keep scoring in the paint, we have to send a message at a certain point.''
The crowd began to chant, ``We want Shaq'' in the second half before the Raptors started to make it interesting in the fourth quarter.
Sonny Weems, who scored all of his 14 points in the fourth, hit a two three-pointers within 33 seconds to cut the lead to 112-107 with 59.9 seconds left.
Linas Kleiza and Andrea Bargnani led the Raptors with 15 points each. Leandro Barbosa added 12 and Amir Johnson and Marcus Banks each scored 10.
Boston's Nate Robinson, who did not play the first quarter and then scored 13 points in the second, led all scorers with 23 points.
The Celtics also got 21 points in 22 minutes 22 seconds from Rajon Rondo, who did not play in the fourth.
Marquis Daniels and Von Wafer each scored 14.
Boston took a 29-20 lead after the first quarter when a 42-foot running jump shot by Daniels beat the buzzer. The Raptors had narrowed what had been a 10-point gap to six on Jack's driving reverse lay-up with 3.9 seconds to play in the first.
The Celtics opened a 15-point lead early in the second quarter and maintained it most of the way. Robinson's three-pointer with 14.9 seconds to play gave Boston a 60-43 half-time lead.
``I didn't think we had the grit and the desire and the fight that we're going to need if we're going to win basketball games or compete against teams like the Boston Celtics,'' said Triano.
``The guys should not be able to drive down the lane and lay the ball in without getting fouled, especially when it's early in the game. They tackled us three times when we got lay-ups. We tackled nobody. I told them foul out, at least send a message that we're not going to allow lay-ups.''
Kleiza led the Raptors in the first half with 10 points and Bargnani had seven points and was 2-for-8 from the field.
With 6:49 to play in the third, the Celtics had cruised into a 26-point lead and were in control. Boston's Glen Davis fouled out with 5:27 to play in the third, finishing with five points and one rebound in 10 minutes.
Notes: O'Neal did not play for the Celtics because of a sore hip, but former Raptor Jermaine O'Neal started and scored four points with four rebounds in nearly 15 minutes. Pierce was given a rest and did not play. . . The Raptors play their sixth pre-season game Sunday at ACC against the Phoenix Suns. . . The Raptors used a different starting lineup combination in each of their first four pre-season games with 11 of the 15 available players taking a turn in the starting five. Kleiza, Reggie Evans, Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon started Friday in the Raptors fifth pre-season game, the first repeat lineup. It was the same starting five as in the first pre-season game Oct, 6, a 129-78 win over Phoenix in Vancouver. Triano said there was no significance to Friday's lineup and that he had considered using a smaller starting five to spread out the Celtics' big men. But, he said before the game, ``for now we'll stay with this group and see how it goes.''