The Celtics got thoroughly outplayed by the Raptors last night. Let’s look at some of the key factors behind what happened:
The Cs got basically every call, and it didn’t matter.
Through the entire game, the Celtics had a marked advantage in terms of refereeing. Which is immensely odd, because Tony Brothers was one of the officials, but the facts don’t lie: Boston players were only called for 17 fouls compared to Toronto’s 32.
And…it didn’t mean a god damn thing. If you’re gonna get that much of a gimme from the refs, you can’t afford to miss eight of the 36 free-throw attempts that disparity permits you, particularly when you’re not shooting particularly well.
This is, in some part, the result of back-to-back tiredness, because at times the Celtics were getting excellent looks and they simply weren’t knocking them down. But there was such little discipline to the offense.
Take Gordon Hayward—he ended up going an abysmal 3-13, despite reaching double figures due to foul shots. Seeing as he’s still dealing with the ankle nerve thing, I suppose I could cut him some slack…but if that’s the case he probably shouldn’t play 35 minutes. Marcus Smart also went totally indiscriminate with his shooting and had the 2-9 results to show it. But this was a whole-squad problem, with all shooters ending up at 39% on the night.
Defense wasn’t prepared.
Back-to-back caveats apply a little bit here too but don’t completely explain how thoroughly unprepared for Toronto’s attack Boston was. (Especially after they handled it so well just a few days ago, in one of the most unfriendly arenas for opposing teams!) It doesn’t account for them allowing Patrick McCaw to shoot 8 for 12. The dude damn near hit a triple-double! And there should’ve been more pressure on Ibaka from Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter.
AND, just four days after they were dominant on the glass, the Raptors out-rebounded the Celtics by 22 boards. 22! That’s absurd. The one thing in Boston’s favor defensively was the number of turnovers they forced…22. I am now terrified of this number and want it to go away.
SMARF tried to do too much.
Unfortunate but true.
He fought damn hard, but it was in the sort of herky-jerky way he did very early on in his career, that ended up being more hindrance than help on numerous occasions.
Like, I’m sure he’ll be fine next game, and it was great seeing him take a few charges in classic SMARF fashion. Having one of the East powerhouses be your first contest after a long absence is no easy thing.
KanterWatch: Mixed results.
So, this happened.
Shortly after that, however, Kanter got completed fooled by Serge Ibaka on a second-chance attempt he could’ve blocked. Which is bad, because Ibaka is A. a player whose habits he knows from their shared time in OKC and B. not a size disadvantage for him.
Ibaka roasted Kanter (and Theis, and all others who covered him) numerous times, usually in the exact same way, on the glass, for a 20-10 line. Not great, Bob.
(I promise this segment will not happen all the time, because, frankly, I’m bored with Kanter debates, but when he played poorly right after having played well, it was hard not to bring it up.)