Raps lose interest

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Mother Nature wasn't the only one to lay a beating on Toronto yesterday.

The Boston Celtics, minus one of their big three in Ray Allen, didn't miss a beat building a 14-point lead by the half and cruising to a rarely-in-doubt 90-77 win.

So, how bad was their third consecutive defeat to the Celtics?

The 77 points for the Raps is a season low, easily trumping the 85 they scored in Milwaukee on Nov. 6. And nary a Raptor would even deny that the Celtics flat-out deserved the win for the defensive effort they put forth.

"I don't know if they scouted us better before today's game or what, but they played really good defence," Raptors point guard Jose Calderon said.

Normally, you can drive a truck though the gap between Calderon's assist and turnover numbers, but not yesterday. His five assists were just one more than his turnover total for the game.

"I couldn't find my guys open," he said. "I probably forced a few more passes than I normally would and that's why I turned the ball over. It was tough."

Bosh took the praise of the Celtics defence a step further, suggesting the Raptors should imitate the Celtics faith in their own system with a little Raptors faith in their own defensive principles.

Bosh felt the Raptors abandoned what had been successful in the past week when they reeled off four consecutive victories.

"We kind of changed it today," Bosh said admitting he wasn't sure why. "I think it's because of who it is. Because they have had that success. It was like we decided: 'Okay, let's do this now.' "

Bosh believes that may have been the biggest mistake the Raptors made all day.

"Let's play our game first and if they beat that, then we can re-adjust,' Bosh said. "Just come out playing Raptors basketball because that has brought us success. They didn't change anything. We should have done the same thing."

Neither team set the world on fire from an offensive standpoint. The fact that Paul Pierce's 18-point game was the high for the afternoon backs that up pretty firmly.

But while the Raps were hard-pressed to find a shot, the Celtics moved the ball in and out until they found an open shooter and, for the first three quarters, converted most of those opportunities.

The Raptors, meanwhile, scored more than 20 points in a quarter only once -- that coming in the fourth, much of it late and once the game had been decided.

While none of the Raps played particularly well, the game marked the fourth in a row for Andrea Bargnani in which he failed to earn solid minutes. Yesterday, he was limited to just more than 12 minutes and went 0-for-3 from the field. He never looked more disinterested than during a series in the second half when he came out with his knee brace down at his ankle.

Bargnani isn't the only Raptor struggling to get back to his previous level of play. Jamario Moon, who has become a fan favourite, struggled on the defensive end early on and was pulled rather quickly in favour of Carlos Delfino.

Moon did wind up with 13 points, one of only three Raptors to make it into double figures, but seven of those came in the fourth quarter.


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