The Celtics came into Toronto showing no new tricks and came out with the victory – edging out the Raptors by 1 point in a low scoring affair, 76-75. Rajon Rondo making behind the back passes, Ray Allen shooting 3 pointers off of screens, and Kevin Garnett acting like a punk against European players. The Celtics showed off the ‘same ol’ that has made them a great team since their collection of star players formed back in 2008.
The Raptors however didn’t look like the same Raptors most of us are accustomed to seeing. DeMar DeRozan had historically one of the worst 3-point shooting seasons of all time only making .093% of his 3 pointers. He’s reassured his fans throughout the offseason that he wouldn’t let that happen again, and in his first action of play, he showed us that his words weren’t just hollow promises. DeRozan attempted a pair of 3 pointers, and made them both.
On the other end, Andrea Bargnani, known for poor defense and abysmal rebounding, made a complete 180 on those claims. He played good pick and roll defense, blocked a shot, and made some good rotations. In addition he grabbed 9 rebounds.
The offense was not pretty to watch with the Raptors shooting just 38.4% from the field, although Dwane Casey has admitted that the team hasn’t had much time to focus on offense with the shortened time they had together.
Casey has said he wishes for the team to fix up its offensive execution and to reduce its turnovers, though he has emphasized that defense will still be the top priority for the team against Boston.
The Raptors will look to exact their revenge for the loss on Sunday, but they’ll have to do with a shorter rotation. The team may be without Rasual Butler, Leandro Barbosa, and Anthony Carter. Butler tweaked his ankle at practice, Barbosa has a tight back that caused him to miss practice, and Carter still has a sore shoulder.
The Celtics will also be missing their key player Paul Pierce who is still out with a sore heel.
Tip-Off is at 7:30 PM Eastern.