Unfortunately we’ve been seeing a little too much of that as of late. After last night’s 120-106 loss, the Raptors have now dropped five of their last six regular season matchups to the Celtics, and of course also lost a seven-game playoff series last year too.
I’ve had just about enough of these guys, I’ll tell you that.
1. The Other Guys
Semi Ojeleye. Payton Pritchard. I’ll be seeing them shoot three-pointers in my nightmares for weeks to come.
You know what, let’s just move on.
2. Threes and Rebounds
The inability to guard the three-point line and the inability to rebound the basketball is a deadly combination. The Celtics hit 20 threes to the Raptors’ nine last might, and scored 17 second chance points on 14 offensive rebounds to the Raptors zero (!) second chance points on three offensive boards.
Throw in the Raptors clanking a ton of shots around the rim, and honestly, it’s amazing this game is as close as it was.
Thing is, I don’t actually think there’s too much to be overly concerned about here. The Raps were missing their best defender in OG Anunoby and a second good perimeter defender in Yuta Watanabe. They were on the second night of a back-to-back at the end of a long trip. Tired legs lead to late jumps and slow contests.
Of course, the centre position itself remains a concern…
3. Four-on-five, or Worse
I know the Raps are shorthanded thanks to injury, and I know the centre rotation kinda is-what-it-is, at this point, but between the poor play of Aron Baynes and Terence Davis, the Raptors often seem shorthanded when they’re on the court.
Chris Boucher’s foul trouble didn’t help, but Baynes couldn’t keep Daniel Theis or Tristan Thompson off the glass, and missed a bunch of bunnies at the rim. Davis played 13 minutes and although he didn’t commit a foul or turn the ball over (to be fair, the refs missed Davis commit one of the most hilarious travels you’ll ever see), he also managed only one assist and one rebound, and didn’t score.
Remember: Baynes is a starter! Davis is the first or second player off the bench! These guys are playing key rotation minutes but they’re not bringing anything to the table.
I really hope once Anunoby and Watanabe are back, the rotation settles and Baynes and Davis’ roles are reduced.
4. Give Me Stanley!
2019 me wouldn’t believe that 2021 me is writing this, but… why isn’t Stanley Johnson playing more? Even last night, with Boucher and Powell picking up three first-half fouls, Stanley didn’t get as much run as I’d like. He did give us Anunoby-like “pick 6” in the second at least:
He played a little more in the second half, and played well. As the Raptors move more towards small-ball I think Stanley should be getting more minutes at centre. Even if he’s giving up five inches and 40 pounds, he’s simply a better centre than Baynes at this point, in pretty much every conceivable way. Give me a centre rotation of OG-Boucher-Johnson, please!
5. 3:48 of Hilarious Torture
I can’t decide of the nearly four-minute stretch of the third quarter in which neither team scored nor barely generated a single quality look was incredible to watch, or incredibly awful.
The Raptors and Celtics just combined to miss 17 consecutive shots, going scoreless for nearly 4 minutes.
For those scoring at home, it was 216 feet worth of missed shots, or 72 yards, or 66 meters, or even 66 metres.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 12, 2021
I mean, if anything sums up the ridiculousness nature of pandemic-era basketball, that had to be it, right?
Losing to the Celtics always stinks. Always. But hey, the Raps went 4-2 on six-game road trip — and OG Anunoby didn’t play a single minute! I’ll take it, you know?