TORONTO – With nothing to play for, the Celtics didn’t play at all Wednesday.
Well, they technically played, if you consider “playing” as wearing uniforms and sneakers and walking onto a court. But the Celtics didn’t do much beyond that.
Boston closed down their 2012-13 regular season by being thoroughly showed up by the Toronto Raptors, who smoked the Celtics, 114-90, at Air Canada Centre.
The Celtics were playing without Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. Paul Pierce played limited minutes, as did Brandon Bass and Jeff Green. Under those circumstances, the game turned ugly after halftime, when Toronto’s 13-0 run put it up by 21 points.
Doc Rivers waved the white flag by inserting rookie center Fab Melo into the game early in the second half. Melo responded by picking up four fouls in three minutes.
Toronto scored 37 points in the third quarter, which tied for the second-most points that the Celtics have allowed in a quarter this season. (The most? 41 in the second quarter against Miami on April 12.)
By the fourth quarter, the crowd was doing The Wave as their team reached the 100-point mark…with 9:10 left to play. The Celtics had their backups’ backups on the court for most of the fourth quarter, when they trailed by more than 30 points.
Pierce, who was sick most of the week, scored 11 points in 15 minutes. Jordan Crawford scored 16 off the bench. Green had 9 points in 16 minutes, Bass had 6 in 18.
That was about it for Boston.
Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan scored 24, Rudy Gay had 19 and Jonas Valanciunas added 18. The Raptors made 22 of 28 free throws and 12 of 21 from 3-point range.
In all, it wasn’t the sendoff that the Celtics were hoping for as they head into their first-round playoff matchup with the New York Knicks this weekend.
Fourth quarter, 5:50, Toronto, 107-74: Not much needs to be said. The Celtics are getting stomped out there. It's not the way they want to go into the playoffs but they haven't cared about regular season games for a while now.
End of the third quarter, Toronto 96-70: Yeah, not the finest hour for the Celtics. They're getting run out of the building here. The Raptors scored 37 points in the third quarter, which ties for the second-most points that the Celtics have allowed in any quarter this season. (They gave up 41 in the second quarter to Miami on April 12.) Fab Melo checked into the game and picked up four fouls in three minutes. Enough said.
Third quarter, 9:26, Toronto 72-51: The Raptors are on a 13-0 run and have outscored the Celtics 13-2 since the second half began. Toronto is shooting 8 of 12 from deep. Considering the stakes, I don't think the Celtics are going to claw and fight to try to come back from this deficit.
Halftime: Toronto 59-49: Again, with the free throws. The Raptors have made 16 of 18, Boston has made 3 of 5. Rudy Gay has 15 points and Jonas Valanciunas has scored 13. The Celtics have two double-digit scorers: Paul Pierce (11) and Avery Bradley (11). The Raptors used a 13-2 run to take a 46-37 lead with 6:22 in the second quarter. Jordan Crawford has scored
Second quarter, 5:44, Toronto 46-39: Paul Pierce IS back in the game. Doc Rivers said before the game that Pierce wants to play because...well, he just wants to play. The difference in this game is the free throw line: Toronto has made 12/14, Boston has made 3/4. That's all you need to know.
End of the first quarter: Toronto, 31-30: Jordan Crawford sank a deep, buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the quarter, and that's why the margin is what it is. Pierce has made 4 of 5 shots and has 9 points. Rudy Gay has 12. The Celtics are shooting 54.5 percent (12/22), the Raptors are shooting 45.5 percent (10/22). Boston has put several of its back-ups in early -- D.J. White, Shavlik Randolph, Terrence Williams. I don't think we'll see too much more of Pierce, Jeff Green or Brandon Bass.
First quarter, 5:52, Toronto, 17-15: That Valanciunas character has 7 points. See, I told you. Pierce has 5. Both teams trying to get into a rhythm.
First quarter, 8:50, Toronto 11-9: The Celtics are sitting Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to rest, and Paul Pierce, who has been sick all week, is playing limited minutes, as are Jeff Green and Brandon Bass. So, you can't really take much away from this game. But the Celtics have been playing some zone defense, a rare look. Keep an eye on Jonas Valanciunas. He's looking strong early.