The Celtics managed just 86 points Friday night against the Raptors, and it did not come as a shock to a single person in the building.
Celtics fans may be fewer in number with every loss and lost player, but the fans at the Garden Friday night were well aware of the circumstances surrounding their team.
Boston’s bench had almost as many players out of uniform (five) as it did in uniform (nine). Tony Allen was also hurt but did not make it to the arena (he is scheduled for surgery on his left knee Saturday).
With Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak not due back until at least Wednesday (and Paul Pierce out possibly weeks longer), the headline will be the same for the Celtics for a while. Boston does not have the horses to beat anyone right now, and the Toronto Raptors are no exception.
It wasn’t as though the Celtics didn’t compete. Toronto did not put the game away until the fourth quarter. Rookie Rajon Rondo (23 points, 5 assists, 4 steals) had his best game of the season for Boston. Leon Powe collected 12 rebounds. Allan Ray played 26 minutes. The home crowd gave their team a standing ovation on two occasions.
But positive vibes don’t win games, and the Celtics won’t be winning many until some of their injured players return.
Chris Bosh led the way for Toronto with 27 points and eight rebounds. Bosh went 13-for-16 at the free throw line to extend the lead for Toronto in the third quarter.
The Celtics were led by guards Sebastian Telfair (14 points), Rondo, and Ray (11 points). The three are the only uninjured guards on Boston’s roster and at times provided some exciting up-and-down play for the Celtics.
As Celtics coach Doc Rivers predicted before the game, Al Jefferson (nine points, six rebounds) struggled against a Toronto defense focused on shutting him down. Gerald Green went 4-for-14 in his first start of the year at shooting guard.
We’ll be back in a bit with comments from the locker rooms.