Celtics Live Blog: Rajon Rondo Unable to Get C’s Going in 86-74 Loss to Raptors


Celtics Live Blog: Rajon Rondo Unable to Get C's Going in 86-74 Loss to RaptorsEnd of game, Celtics lose 86-74: The Raptors outdid the Celtics in rebounds (42-34), assists (26-18) and simple all-around hustle.

DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 21 points and Linas Kleiza hit three big 3-pointers for Toronto, but the true standout of the game was Raptors point guard Jose Calderon. Calderon finished up with 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting with 14 assists. He did not commit a turnover in 37 minutes, 37 seconds.

Nobody in a Celtics uniform did anything of consequence.

Fourth quarter, 1:38, Raptors 84-72: Jose Calderon first made sure the Raptors had a comfortable lead. Then he made sure there would be no comeback.

The Raptors point guard drilled a 3 to put Toronto up by 12 points with less than two minutes to go. Calderon has 17 points and 13 assists, outplaying Rondo who has just three points, although he has not turned the ball over since halftime.

Fourth quarter, 6:09, Raptors 75-63: It took nearly five minutes for Pierce to make his first appearance of the fourth quarter. The Raptors didn't seem to care who was in the game, though. Two 3's by 6-foot-8 forward Linas Kleiza helped Toronto run its lead to 12 points, making a second straight loss a likelihood for the Celtics.

There is time for a comeback, though, and it probably wouldn't be the craziest comeback the Celtics have made this season.

Fourth quarter, 9:52, Raptors 65-56: The Celtics' 2-3 zone has worked, mostly because the Raptors were unsure of how to run their offensive sets against it and not because of any great effort by the Celtics.

A layup by Daniels brought the Celtics within nine points, which has been the point where the Raptors put their foot down for most of this game.

End of third quarter, Raptors 63-51: The Celtics look like a team coming off an overtime slog in a nationally televised game, but their play through the first three quarters can't entirely be attributed to Thursday's game against the Lakers. They kept rounding off their cuts and bailing out on their screens, leading to low-quality shots.

Garnett scored two free throws and a jumper to close the third quarter, but the Celtics will need to put together a few strong possessions on both ends of the floor if they hope to come back in the fourth.

Third quarter, 3:11, Raptors 63-47: Typically, if the Celtics could get the deficit down to 10 points at the end of the third, you'd say they were in good position.

The problem is, the Celtics were as close or closer than 10 points at multiple points. They were as close as five points at the beginning of the quarter. The Raptors just seemed to have more energy and more variation in their offense whenever Boston got close.

The Raptors' last two baskets were dunks, including an alley-oop by Amir Johnson from DeRozan.

Third quarter, 5:22, Raptors 57-43: Another off-kilter shooting night wouldn't be so bad if the Celtics were able to impact the game in other areas, but the Raptors owned the game in every area to this point.

The Raptors had eight offensive rebounds and limited Boston to just five 3-point attempts. The Celtics committed their 15th turnover of the game.

Halftime, Raptors 41-34: Rondo ended the first half by throwing away the ball to Ed Davis, bringing the Celtics' first-half total to 13 turnovers.

The Raptors weren't able to get anything out of their final possession either, though, curiously waiting until 14 seconds remained to attempt a shot.

The Celtics eclipsed their free throw total from Thursday's game with 11 first-half attempts, but foul shots were just a symptom. The predictability on offense that led to so few foul shots Thursday was still there in the first half, but instead of showing up at the line it showed up as turnovers.

It will be tough to weed out the bad from the really bad in the good, the bad and the so-so.

The Good: Amir Johnson scored eight points without a single play being run for him. He added three rebounds and three steals in 14 minutes. … Jose Calderon carved up the Celtics with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting, five assists and no turnovers in 18 minutes. … DeMar DeRozan seemed much more confident on the offensive end than he has for most of the season. DeRozan played 19:32, making four of his seven shots en route to 13 points. He had three assists and only one turnover. He also matched Boston's free throw production from Thursday by going 5-for-5 from the foul line. … Avery Bradley was probably the only Celtic who was mostly a positive presence. Bradly offered some resistance to Calderon and scored three points in 7:27.

The Bad: Paul Pierce was 2-for-6 with eight points, one assist and two turnovers. Ray Allen shot 1-for-5 from the field and finished the half with the same number of points, turnovers and fouls: two. … Rajon Rondo missed all three shots he took, turned the ball over five times and had a single assist.

The So-so: Kevin Garnett only took two shots, but he managed four rebounds as the Celtics at least stayed about even with the Raptors on the boards. The Raptors had 22 rebounds to the Celtics' 21.

Second quarter, :32.2, Raptors 41-34: As poorly as the Celtics played in the first half, the Raptors weren't feeling comfortable.

A dunk by Bass cut Toronto's lead to seven points and Casey called a 20-second time out to set a play as the Raptors will try to go two-for-one on possessions before halftime.

Second quarter, 2:32, Raptors 39-28: The Raptors do not have a whole lot of offensive talent with Andrea Bargnani injured, but they pride themselves on defense under Dwane Casey. They are showing their mettle against the Celtics.

The Celtics repeatedly got the deficit back to nine points, but the Raptors allowed them to get no closer. Toronto has forced 12 Boston turnovers, four by Rondo alone.

Calderon is one of the better point guards many casual NBA fans aren't aware of. He's an elite distributor and free throw shooter, and a couple playoff contenders (the Lakers, Jazz and Knicks — if Jeremy Lin ever cools off — come to mind) would love to have a playmaker of his abilities on their side. Calderon is already at 10 points and five assists against the Celtics and still has not committed a turnover.

Second quarter, 5:38, Raptors 33-24: Coming off a terrible shooting performance Thursday, Garnett finally got on the board with his first field goal of this game with seven minutes to go in the second quarter.

Garnett's banked jumper cut the Celtics' deficit to six points, but Leandro Barbosa hit a 3-pointer. Barbosa's second basket of the second quarter increased the Raptors' lead to nine points as the Celtics try to chip away from a lead that was as large as 16 points.

Second quarter, 9:56, Raptors 26-18: The Celtics starters might not have realized this game started 30 minutes earlier than they're accustomed to, but at least the bench got the memo. Bradley, Pietrus and Bass (who is normally a reserve but started this game in place of O'Neal) scored Boston's last eight points.

End of first quarter, Raptors 26-14: Rivers was as active as he's ever been in the first quarter, yanking players in and out of the game and calling back-to-back time outs to ream out the players for lackadaisical effort.

Every healthy Celtics player except Greg Stiemsma and E'Twaun Moore logged time in the first quarter, when the Celtics attempted a mere 13 shots. Not that their field goal attempts matters — even when they did attempt them, the Celtics hit just 31 percent of their shots in the first quarter.

The Raptors had nine assists and just two turnovers as a team while outrebounding the Celtics 14-8. The Celtics had six turnovers and just three assists.

First quarter, 1:05, Raptors 25-9: Avery Bradley replaced Rondo early, subbing in with Pierce and Garnett. Toronto point guard Jose Calderon already has three assists and eight points on 3-for-5 shooting.

First quarter, 3:19, Raptors 20-7: Nothing noteworthy happened except Celtics coach Doc Rivers called another timeout. He's ticked, and effort is the sole reason.

First quarter, 3:40, Raptors 20-7: A wise man once said that in basketball, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

The Celtics had better start taking some shots.

The Celtics attempted just eight shots in the first 8:20 while committing five turnovers. The Raptors put up 18 shots and did not commit a single turnover.

Not surprisingly, Toronto took an early 13-point lead.

First quarter 5:05, Raptors 16-6: The Raptors are in the second game of a seven-game homestand, while the Celtics are playing the second game in two nights. The difference showed early as the Raptors had noticeably better energy than the C's.

Garnett looked tentative the night after shooting 6-for-23 against the Lakers. He passed up a wide-open jumper on his first touch, although he later picked up two points on a pair of free throws.

First quarter, 6:25, Raptors 12-4: We Americans love to chuckle about basketball in Canada, but the Raptors quietly have a decent fan following.

The Raptors are 17th in the NBA in home attendance, a better mark than the first-place Sixers. The Raptors woke up their fans with an early run to take the lead over the C's.

7:12 p.m.: The Raptors mascot allegedly does not have a name beyond "Raptors mascot," which is a shame, because he's always been pretty entertaining.

I'd like to suggest "PaRappa the Raptor."

7 p.m.: There's a little Tommy Heinsohn in all of us, because let's face it: If you were born and raised in Boston and grew up watching the Celtics, it's hard not to occasionally see things through green-colored glasses.

But before the Celtics play any basketball on Friday, let's dispel the notion that their five free throw attempts against the Lakers on Thursday had anything to do with the officiating. The Celtics did that to themselves by failing to challenge the Lakers defenders by getting to the hoop. They made the referees' jobs easy.

With that, let's get ready for the tip. Aaron Gray will start at center as the Raptors will go with a big lineup in Bayless' absence.

6:30 p.m.: The schedule-makers gave the Celtics the greatest gift a team coming off an overtime loss to the hated Lakers can receive: a visit to Toronto.

Despite some columnists who want to deal away Rajon Rondo, the 25-year-old point guard is not yet a member of the Lakers (at least, we don't think he is) and will start for the C's. No word on whether he'll receive another shotgun snap from Kevin Garnett if the Celtics (14-11) win the opening tip.

Thanks to the Nets' four-game losing streak, Toronto (8-19) is no longer alone in the Atlantic Division cellar. How about a round of applause for the Raps?

Jerryd Bayless is listed as one of the Raptors' probable starters, but he sprained his left ankle this week and is doubtful for this one. So we'll see what happens.

Jermaine O'Neal is reportedly out, and that seems set in stone.

Here are the projected starters:

Brandon Bass
Kevin Garnett
Paul Pierce
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo

Amir Johnson
James Johnson
DeMar DeRozan
Jerryd Bayless
Jose Calderon 

8 a.m.: Following a torturous overtime loss to the hated Lakers, the Celtics turn their attention to a foe they've had a much easier time of handling this season.

The Celtics are 4-0 this season against the Raptors, including the preseason. Toronto is again without center Andrea Bargnani, who came into this season with a renewed dedication to become more than just a spot-up jump shooter. He was rewarded for his hard work with a left calf strain that has sidelined him indefinitely.

See if the Celtics can win for the 10th time in 12 games and join us for updates and analysis during the game, which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

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