Running Diary: Garnett leads Celtics to another demolition of Raptors

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Celtics played the Raptors again and, again, they blew the NBA’s lone Canadian team out. A lot of people think Toronto could make some noise in the East this year, but they have been no match for the Celtics in two (nonetheless meaningless) preseason games. Kevin Garnett (21 points, 4 rebounds) led the way for the C’s , and by this point in the preseason nobody is asking any more questions about his knee. KG’s leg is A-Okay, and he is going to be the same old Kevin Garnett that everybody has come to respect and admire.

Garnett was great, and Ray Allen (20 points on 8-13 shooting) shot the lights out, but nobody was as electric today as Eddie House. In the fourth quarter, Eddie got hot like only Eddie can, hitting three three-balls and a long two before Doc mercifully summonsed him back to the bench. When Eddie gets hot, it’s a sight to behold. A sliver of space is all he needs, and every shot seems to go down. There is not a better streak shooter in this league than Eddie House. He is a feared assassin, and he can put opposing teams away with one of his hot streaks, as he did today.

The C’s didn’t get much from Paul Pierce (2 points), but nothing was needed. They have the depth to get by even when the Big Three only has two functioning members. For more in-depth analysis, read my running diary below. Unfortunately, it starts at the second quarter. I live in New York, and couldn’t find a feed for the game until then. Sue me.

Running Diary: Second Quarter

  • Turned the game on at the end of the first quarter, after I finally found it streaming live on the internet. 33-23, Celtics. The score sounds good. I think missing the first quarter might have been a blessing in disguise: I got to watch the Maccabi Tel Aviv coach get kicked out of his game against the Knicks and then refuse to leave the court.

    The NBA preseason; Where European basketball coaches acting like Bobby Knight happens.

  • Stats come up on the screen, which by the way is one of the worst-quality live streams I’ve ever seen. Anyways, 76.5% shooting for the Celtics in the first quarter. That’s it? They can’t even get to 80%?

  • Eddie House for three. At least I think it was Eddie. I can barely tell through this grainy computer feed.

  • I hate Hedo Turkoglu for what he did to the Celtics in the playoffs, but I really respect him. He brings a lot to his team. When he’s coming off screens and knocking down shots, you tend to forget he’s damn near 7 feet tall. He just hit an and-one, by the way.

  • Marquis Daniels with a great steal, then looks like he might go coast-to-coast! Only to dribble it off his leg and out of bounds. Still, a nice defensive play from the man who still looks a lot like Mikki Moore.

  • Bargnani and Turkoglu get dunks on back-to-back plays. I wouldn’t have been more surprised if Tom Thibodeau himself went up for a tomahawk slam.

  • Rondo with a nice jumper from out top. His form is really looking good. The Celtics defense, though, isn’t, and they give up another layup. This time to the fuzzy character who somewhat resembles Amir Johnson. 38-34, C’s.

  • Rasheed Wallace is looking very active defensively. I always knew he was a good defender, but when you watch him every night you begin to appreciate just how much he affects a game on both ends.

  • Marquis Daniels is either strong, has a mean streak, or both. He and Hedo are going at it while Hedo guards Marquis, and Daniels’ shoulder seems to be dishing out a fair amount of pain to Hedo.

  • Breaking news: I have now found a good feed! I no longer have to guess who is who based on the body shape and skin color. I can now actually see players’ faces and numbers! I feel like I was just given glasses for the first time after having impaired vision for my whole life.

  • Daniels and Wallace are everywhere defensively. You can’t underestimate the impact they’ll have on the second unit. I don’t care if neither of them scores a point all season. They’re still better than Mikki Moore and Tony Allen.

  • Rondo just threw his patented alley-oop. But this time it went to Rasheed, not KG. I’m surprised ‘Sheed can still get up a little bit. He’s getting old. 44-36, Celtics.

  • Starters back in. ‘Sheed goes to the bench, but not before proving yet again why I love that the Celtics picked him up. He only has 2 points and 2 rebounds, but I couldn’t be happier with ‘Sheed’s effort.

  • Kevin Garnett isn’t just one of the best big-man shooters in the league. He’s one of the best shooters in the NBA, period. But for some reason he cannot, and/or will not, step back behind the arc. He hits a lot of shots from just inside the arc, but has never diversified his game to include the three.

  • The last two games, the Celtics have really started to look like themselves. Better defense, higher intensity, and quicker ball movement. Either they’re starting to work into regular season form, or they’re playing the Raptors. Maybe a little bit of both, although the Raps should be much improved this year with Hedo in tow.

  • Ray with a picture-perfect pull-up jumper in transition. With Ray, isn’t it always picture-perfect?

  • The Celtics just had the prettiest play of the preseason. Ball down low with KG. Passes out top to Rasheed. Swings to Marquis on the wing. Hits KG high post. Lob down low to Rondo. Wide open layup. All of those passes were executed before you could say, “Bing-Bang”. Such an impressive play that can only happen when a team really knows how to play the game.

  • Shelden Williams has now entered the game. Word on the street is that the Raptors are going to double-team him because of the first-half shooting barrage he went on Wednesday night. Or maybe they’ll just realize it was a fluke.

  • And I think they realized it was a fluke. They left Shelden wide open at the free throw line one of his first possessions. He thought about it briefly and let it go. As you might have imagined, it was a brick.

  • The half ends with a Rondo heave that actually comes pretty close. 54-49 at the half. Garnett leads the C’s with 15 points, Ray-Ray bounced back from an uncharacteristic bad shooting game to shoot 6-6 for 14 points, and Rondo ends the first half with 6 points and 4 assists. Pierce, though only scoring 2 points, compiled a team-high 5 assists.

    Third Quarter

  • Sloppy start to the second half. Neither team scores ‘til two minutes go off the board. Unfortunately, it’s the Raptors who finally break the ice. Even more unfortunately, it’s Hedo mother---ing Turkoglu. 54-52 Celtics.

  • Celts don’t look good offensively, but give a little credit to the Raps. They’ve ratcheted up the intensity and are suddenly contesting every shot. Meanwhile, Bargnani all of a sudden looks like the Defensive Player of the Year as he stuffs two Perkins shots right back in his face. 54-54. Tie game.

  • The Celtics finally score, and I can’t say whether I’m surprised that their first bucket this half was scored on a goaltend. I guess it was destiny that Perkins would have his shot blocked a third straight time, except it would count. After all, the third time’s the charm.

  • The third quarter has been sloppy on both sides, but not in a preseason “we don’t care” type of way. Both teams are getting after it. 58-54 Celtics, 6 minutes left.

  • The shooting stats just popped up on the bottom of the screen; The Celtics are shooting 15%, and the Raptors are at a scorching 22%.

  • Pretty fastbreak by the C’s. Ray Allen dribbles upcourt, then lobs a pass to a perfectly-positioned KG, who turns and scores.

  • My feed just went haywire. It was working perfectly and then, all of a sudden, pause after pause as the feed backed up. And now Kevin Garnett is talking about Marquis Daniels being underrated, but I can’t hear because my computer has no volume. The only reason I knew what KG was talking about because it said right under Kevin Garnett’s name, “Marquis Daniels Underrated”.

  • 67-59, Celtics. If Ray Allen doesn’t have the smoothest game in the world, I don’t know who does. Maybe Jesus Shuttlesworth. Ray just caught a Rondo pass and drove right into the lane, almost finishing with what would have been an oh-so-pretty fingerroll. Even his misses make me talk about how smooth he is.

  • Rasheed in for Perk with the rest of the first unit. I like the lineup, and I like that Wallace just drained a three to put the C’s up 71-63.

  • Jarrett Jack just got accosted by Big Baby, who was at the time being held by Amir Johnson, and Jack went flying to the floor. Somehow, it was a foul on Jack, rather than Big Baby or Johnson. Gotta love the replacement refs.

  • End of third quarter. 73-63, Celtics. Doc has really tightened the rotation today. Still, I’m surprised we haven’t seen any of Scal or Hudson in the game.

    Fourth Quarter

  • We may not be seeing much of the end of the Celtics’ bench, but we can certainly find remnants of past Boston benches. Patrick O’Bryant, who might be in a tie with Mikki Moore for the worst 7-footer to ever play basketball in Boston, is now in the game for the Raps.

  • Scal has now entered the game. I’m not sure why Doc has waited until the fourth quarter to put him in during the last two games. Maybe it’s just indicative of the minutes Scal will get come the regular season. I thought the second unit functioned great when Scal was out there with House and Wallace, but maybe Rivers thinks differently.

  • Big Baby has some limitations defensively, but he sure does know how to take a charge. I fear for the floor every time he does, but he hasn’t dented any… yet.

  • 81-69, Celtics. With the way the second unit has been playing, Red Auerbach is now opening the stogies and preparing to light one.

  • With Eddie House catching fire, Red won't even need a lighter. And House is doing it without his trademark headband. His last three was on a beautiful cross-court pass by Daniels, who is doing a good job with his PG duties.

  • Kevin Garnett is up and cheering for everybody. And by cheering, I mean spewing random swears in a way he hopes will make his teammates play better.

  • Daniels is doing a great job facilitating the offense, and Eddie House hasofficially ignited in flames. Three threes and a looonggg two THIS QUARTER have put the finishing touches on this one, even though there’s still a bit of time left to play. 90-73, Celtics. This second unit could beat a lot of starting fives around the league.

  • KG has been on the bench reacting to each House three like it’s an NBA championship-clinching shot. If he realizes it’s only preseason, KG is not letting on that he knows.

  • Eddie was forced to bomb one from 35 feet as time expired on the shot clock. I think I speak for all Celtics fans when I say I was surprised it missed. Despite being from halfway across Toronto.

  • Michael Sweetney has entered the game with a little over four minutes left. Hudson is the only one who has yet to see minutes. Sweetney gobbles up a rebound on his first possession… no pun intended.

  • Hudson and Giddens are now in, joining Sweetney, Scal, and Shelden Williams. Eddie House leaves, but I can still see smoke rising from him on the sidelines.

  • The last couple minutes were filled with a Lester Hudson three, a Giddens jumper, and a Shelden dunk. Nothing too exciting, but nothing to be ashamed of, either. The third unit looked good. Just like the first unit did, and just like the second unit did. Game over. 101-82, good guys win.
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