No that is not a Biore strip on Rajon Rondo‘s nose. Last night the Boston Celtics fell to the Toronto Raptors 99-90 (I was close again!) in a game that saw Rondo need nine stitches in between his eyes. The Raptor’s backcourt dominated much of the game, with exceptional performances from Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross. This win was big for the Raptors, as the Brooklyn Nets lost in OT last night to the Charlotte Bobcats, bringing Toronto closer to an Atlantic Division title. Here are some more thoughts about yesterday’s game:
- The Celt’s bench was magnificent. Jared Sullinger scored 26 and knocked down four three-pointers. Chris Johnson and Kelly Olynyk also turned in a dominating effort in the battle of the benches. The Raptor’s subs only scored seven points, all coming from former Terrapin Greivis Vasquez. It is always encouraging to see the young guys play this well, and let’s see if they build on it when they play the second half of this set in Toronto.
- The starters threw out a stinker. Toronto’s five all scored in double figures, while the Celtics only had one player crack 10 points (Avery Bradley, 16). There was also little defense played by this unit, which is the most alarming concern. Brad Stephens wants this team to play tough D, because he knows there is enough talent to get by on offense. It doesn’t set a great tone if the starters come out flat, and as a result, take a night off on defense.
- Not to harp on the Raptors too much, but it is refreshing to see a team play great, unified basketball. So many times in the NBA today we see a lot of one-on-one attempts, without a lot of ball movement. Toronto does fall into that as well, but they normally move the ball around enough to set up guys like Ross and DeMar DeRozan to succeed while on the move.
- Rondo had 15 assists tonight in a game where he wasn’t getting much help from his starting cast mates. The C’s get the Philadelpha 76ers twice more this season, and I wonder if Rondo can go for 20-25 assists in one of those games. They aren’t back-to-backs so we should see if Rondo shoots for a new career high before the end of the year.