The Toronto Raptors began the new NBA season on a positive note, defeating the Boston Celtics 93-87. The game was hardly a classic, but the Raps showed some grit by coming back to seize and hold the lead after throwing away what was at one point in early Q3 a 16-point advantage. The Celtics were severely short-handed, being without Rajon Rondo (injury) and Jared Sullinger (suspension), and should have been easy pickings for a Raps team at full strength. However, Jeff Green, Boston’s fine small forward, hit from inside and out to lead all scorers with 25 points, including 2 of 3 from distance. Fortunately for the home team, Gerald Wallace, who normally plagues the Raps, had his hands full guarding Rudy Gay all night and managed just one basket.
The start of the game was delayed by Opening Night flashy stuff, highlighted by a portable stage in which every Raptor coach and player walked across while being introduced to the fans. [20 second timeout: On several occasions during the frantic construction and de-construction of the dual side-laddered contraption, the Raps' support people looked stymied by its complexities. I thought the game might be postponed, and the players sent to their dressing rooms, while the multitude tried to get the silly thing off the floor. And the lights didn't work properly, so we only saw half the names, e.g., "#10 DeMar Dblank" FLOP!] When the ball finally went up, the Raps were sluggish and needed close to 3 minutes to hit the scoresheet. DeMar DeRozan, usually reliable from the foul line, missed both on his first trip, and that was a precursor, as the Raps made just 12 of 23. Kyle Lowry was a subpar 7 of 12, and donut of three from distance; perhaps his injured left hand was bothering him. He passed well enough to make 8 assists, several of them of the spectacular variety to Amir Johnson. The Raps’ underrated power forward scored 13 points, none bigger than his lone 3-ball of the night, which pushed Toronto to a 4-point lead in the late moments of Q4.
The Raps were fortunate to be playing one of the few teams which couldn’t take advantage of the frequently sputtering Toronto offense to grab the win. Rudy Gay led the team with 19 points, many of them on gorgeous fadeaway jumpers, but he and DD coughed up 5 turnovers each. Toronto’s second unit had its moments; Tyler Hansbrough was the game’s top rebounder with 12, including 5 on the offensive glass, and D.J. Augustin was not a disaster backing up Kyle. Terrence Ross had 6 points, including a lovely corner 3, but was barely seen in the second half. Landry Fields chipped in 8 points, and looked healthy.
A wobbly victory is better than any kind of loss. Our team is off to Atlanta for a Friday game, then Milwaukee on Saturday.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada. Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.